Friday, January 11, 2008

Lehmann's Dortmund Move Falls Through

Contrary to earlier reports, Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann will be staying at Arsenal until the Summer. I reported on Wednesday that the keeper had all but signed a deal with Borussia Dortmund with only minor details to be sorted out. However, Lehmann has decided to stay in the Premier League, promising to fight for a starting spot rather than be ensured regular first-team football in the Bundesliga.

The decision may affect whether or not Lehmann keeps his international place, as Germany coach Joachim Low warned that he may not feature in Euro 2008 if he isn't his club's number one goalkeeper.

Lehmann apologized for having inconvenienced Dortmund fans, and stated that the deal fell through due to 'personal reasons.'

"Although it would have been a very attractive challenge to play for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga once again, I have decided against taking this step due to personal reasons," he said.

"I am sorry, particularly to disappoint the people responsible at Borussia Dortmund, who have tried very professionally to convince me to move and gave me sufficient time for consideration."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was pleased that the 38 year-old had chosen to stay with the Gunners and has promised to continue using Lehmann as a squad player.

"Lehmann will be on the bench [against Birmingham]," said the Frenchman.

"The indication I can give is that I am happy if he stays because he is an important player in the squad, like Gilberto also.

"We have such a young squad that these players have a big weight in the dressing room and a big input in the team. I am happy if they stay."