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Almunia Amongst Seven Released

Arsenal have announced that they have released seven professionals from their books this summer, headed up by former first choice goalkeeper Manuel Almunia. The Spanish custodian joins George Brislen-Hall, Gavin Hoyte, Rhys Murphy and Sean McDermott whilst scholars James Campbell and Jeffrey Monakana are also released.

Gavin Hoyte was out of contract having taken countless loan spells, culminating in an underwhelming time at AFC Wimbledon. Murphy had unsuccessful trials at Middlesbrough and Glasgow Rangers last summer before joining Preston on loan. Sean McDermott finished the season at Leeds having not played a game.

It was widely expected Almunia would be released having seen out the last year of his deal. Almunia featured on the Arsenal bench twice without playing a single minute following a disastrous last couple of appearances at the end of 2010-11 against Blackburn and West Brom.

Almunia's stock and confidence fell to such a point that he spent the end of the season training with the U-18s. Personally, I hope Almunia can restart his career somewhere else. He was a good deputy for a while I felt but was never quite up to being number 1. Whilst his incompetence was massively overstated in my opinion, I think Manuel would be fine at a club that keeps him busier during matches.

His best performances for the club came when he was peppered with shots- in Champions League ties at Old Trafford and the Nou Camp. He was also something of a penalty specialist, achieving a better save ratio than David Seaman. However, lapses in concetration and a lack of decisiveness often cost him as he couldn't quite deal with the periods of inaction being an Arsenal goalkeeper. He also seemed to struggle with the scrutiny.

Mistakes are highlighted much more when you play in goal for an Arsenal or a Manchester United. Not to pick on Tim Howard in particular, but if you got a video reel of goals Everton have conceded in the last 2 years, you'll see many a Howard clusterf*ck. But Almunia's reputation took a beating as he was probably a midtable goalkeeper in a team that aspired to titles. But ultimately, Almunia didn't pick himself in goal. The bell seemed to toll for him around 2 years ago when his mother in law died tragically in a car crash, which then begat a period out of the side. A fact often skated over.

In any case, I wish him well and hope he can restart his career elsewhere with a clean slate. LD.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday May 22 2012

Time: 7:21PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
He always seemed like a really nice guy so I'm not going to slag him off, but needless to say he just didn't quite have the quality to succeed at Arsenal. I wish him well though. Also looking forward to seeing the boss rid the club of some more dead wood this summer.
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22/05/2012 19:29:00

Sincerely wish him well. He had some good games with us, it wasn't all bad. Just wish he could've been better, more consistent and could've succeeded with us.
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22/05/2012 19:51:00

He was an at par back up. Not as great as some thought him to be (after the Barca game 09-10) and not as bad as some thought him to be.
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22/05/2012 19:58:00

I seem to recall that Gavin Hoyte was seen as an excellent prospect. just goes to show how players so often fall at the final hurdle, whatever colours they wear.
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22/05/2012 20:29:00

Almunia is a competent back up. I agree too much was made about his mistakes, but he did have a lot of them. Plus his decision making let him down, he didnt come out early enough for corners and to close down the attacking player. Wish him well, hopefully, he can do well somewhere else.
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22/05/2012 21:09:00

Wish Manuel well. He does deserve a chance at another club seeing that he can get no change at Arsenal at the moment. On the contrary, Prits, I am not sure Almunia was found wanting coming out for corners; it was his major strength, in my view and had good handling on corners. He was a towering figure and did use his height to good advantage in these situations.
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22/05/2012 22:35:00

I can't fault you on the others, though. Almunia did have a knack for making the wrong decisions in coming out to close an attacking player or when coming out to clear balls out of the danger area. He was too hesitant where he should be decisive and on occasion, would be guilty of passing the buck to his defenders when he should be taking charge. I can recall a good many spats with Gallas and Silvestre, for just his failure to come out to bail out his defender. But then, no one is perfect.
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22/05/2012 22:40:00

Best of luck to Manuel. Whilst he wasn't the most solid of custodians (plenty of howlers in an Arsenal jersey especially towards the beginning of his career with us) he showed he could be a decent goalie at times. He just flittered between dependable to liability too many times to ever be a strong no 1 for us and with Scznesny's emergence, it was more or less curtains for Manuel's Arsenal career. Hope he does get his career off the ground again somewhere else. Best of luck to him.
Ned Stark
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22/05/2012 22:52:00

How he was our no1 for so many appearances I cannot fathom, he's never even got a sniff at an international call up at any level, never, ever, good enough for us. That said, he seems like an alright bloke, and it's not his fault he was picked, all the beast Manuel.
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22/05/2012 23:51:00

WTF.. I dont see Denilson, Nicklas, Diaby, Vela, Squillaci, Chamakh, Park, Botellho in that list.. Next out of the door please.. We really really need to get the deadwood out of the door to create some space. But if last summer is any indication - easier said than done.
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23/05/2012 04:43:00

Quick question to gooners here - how many among the 7 I mentioned above do you think will still be claiming our wages next season? My guess is Bendtner, Diaby, Chamakh and Park..
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23/05/2012 04:44:00

Sajit, the above list is that of players who were released by the club because their contracts have run their course. The players you mention have running Arsenal contracts and silly season is yet to begin.
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23/05/2012 06:40:00

Shewore - To be fair to Almunia he's got a fair bit of competition in the Spanish national team. Renia has hardly been a regular, and look at Arteta ... many Arsenal fans player of the season yet doesn't get a sniff. That's not to say that means Almunia is a great keeper, but I think in this instance it's a little hard to judge him via international appearances.
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23/05/2012 09:11:00

I'm surprised at the level of good will towards Almunia?! He decided to see out the last year of his stupidly well paid contract contributing sweet fa to the team and giving us absolutely no value for money, instead of being professional, furthering his career (you would of thought that would be a priority with only a few years remaining as a professional) and finding another club. He went from a semi competent keeper to a leech.....I have no feelings either way on the bloke.
Scotch Eggs Rule
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23/05/2012 12:24:00

Absolutely London Gooner.. He basically got paid a fat pay check for doing ***** all. Not even trying to be a professional.
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23/05/2012 15:33:00

I get that DF, was *trying* to be funny..aaarrghhhh. nevermind.
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23/05/2012 15:33:00

SER, i second your comment. He should have left when we made it clear to him that he no longer has a future here. He has set a bad example for people like Squillaci. I hope no one of the 1year left players take us for a ride based on their excess salary time. Time up Denilson, Bendtner, Vela, Squillaci, Chamakh, Park, Arshavin, Fabianski, Mannone, Botelho. Wow what a list. The scouts involved in some signings should never step on the Emirate any longer.
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23/05/2012 15:35:00

Rocky yeah there is a lot of top level competition, that's the nature of it, and Spain are blessed with top talent in goal, none of which our keeper could get near, that's kind of the point - he shouldn't have been our keeper
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23/05/2012 17:12:00

I feel if he had another club come for him, willing to match the ridiculous wages we paid him, he may just have moved on instead of running down his contract. He had little choice as he still has a family to think about. We have to reconsider our wage policy, for a start.
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23/05/2012 22:04:00

Naijagunner - his family? The man was a multimillionaire before he signed his last contract and would still of been a multimillionaire if he'd left for another club on slightly lower wages but was guaranteed first team football. Sorry mate, I can't abide the use of that argument, just how much is "enough"? Hell the appearance/result bonuses may of made up the difference. You know it's like when people say well he was on 80k but City offered him 120k per week as some sort of justification. What the bloody hell can 120k per week buy you that 80k per week can't? if i was offered regular first team football on 50k or to sit on the bench elsewhere for 70k i'd want to play. especially when you consider I've probably only got 2-3 years left as a professional and would want to make the most of any playing time I have left. Didn't Arteta take a slightly lower wage at Arsenal (albeit a longer contract than the one at Everton) so he could play at a higher level, not an identical situation, but an example of a career driven model professional, something Almunia could learn from. Naija, I'm not having a scream up at you mate, it's just one of my pet hates in football and no doubt many others *Climbs off soap box*
Scotch Eggs Rule
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24/05/2012 09:33:00

It's a fact that the more you get the more you want. Somebody that is living on the street, starving to death would proportionately be entitled to ask me how on earth I could be so greedy as to want to jump from 25k a year to 40k a year. I can get everything I realistically need for 25k a year and live a good life. But that's not to say I wouldn't love to jump to 40k and I'd be equally reticent about dropping down to 20k even if I thought I'd enjoy the job more. The problem is we all look at these things as though we're the bottom of the food chain when most of us really aren't and are guilty of the same.
Little Dutch
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24/05/2012 09:50:00

I agree in theory mate, but you're talking fantasy figures. 25k per annum is easily attainable to all but a tiny minority of the population, 40k per week is available to less than 1%. It may sound like semantics, but it's a statement/argument that really does my swede in, especially in these days of swinging cuts and financial austerity. Footballers are greedy and I would not expect anyone to understand or relate to the argument "They have to do the best for their family" when they've never known anything but the good life since the start of his top flight career. It cuts absolutely no slack with me. it shows greed and a lack of professionalism on the part of Almunia.
Scotch Eggs Rule
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24/05/2012 10:33:00

*swinging cuts? lol
Scotch Eggs Rule
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24/05/2012 10:34:00

Yeah, it's not so much the "family" argument, that cuts very little ice. Even by being a goalkeeping coach after retirement, you'll make plenty to top up your fortune. But I mean, you become accustomed to 50k a week, you probably live in a property and live a lifestyle that demands that much to keep it up. Anything after that will be a massive downer. It's just natural. My uni years were the happiest of my life, but I look now and think "how in the name of blue ***** could I make 1,000 last three months?" I know I could because I did it. But there's no way I would.
Little Dutch
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24/05/2012 10:40:00

K-cider and white lightning mate, that's how! lol
Scotch Eggs Rule
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24/05/2012 10:53:00

I'm on a k-cider diet, so far I've lost 3 days - Tommy Cooper.
Scotch Eggs Rule
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24/05/2012 11:03:00

Hehehe, Scotch. It is about relativity, you see. I just got a new tax stipulation which resulted in an adverse "adjustment" to my income and I tell you, that riled me no end, especially as deductions were retroactively applied. Now, it won't make a difference to me if I was earning the equivalent of 50,000 a week or 1,000; no one likes to be put through the effort of trying to sustain a lifestyle on reduced wages. That's the point of my post. Like all of us, footballers are human too and respond to economic pressures like anyone else would.
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24/05/2012 21:35:00

I completely and utterly get it, just something at the back of my mind refuses to allow it to be passed off quietly. On the taxation thing, just finished getting my new company set up to get paid through and it will save me in the region of 10k per annum in taxes, that WILL make a big difference to me and the missus life (getting married in September) but how much difference would an extra 20k per week make to someone on 50k already? Maybe because I'm not at that level (or ever will be!) it's impossible for me to comprehend, but still.....
Scotch Eggs Rule
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25/05/2012 12:03:00

Ah! Congratulations (On your wedding plans, that is)!!
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25/05/2012 15:22:00

Thanks. If the lass can put up with a pain in the 'arris like me for 6 years, it's probably best I do the right thing.
Scotch Eggs Rule
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25/05/2012 15:39:00


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