Life at Burnley has gone from high to low really quickly for Nick Pope.
Lauded as the Clarets’ hero last season for his brilliant work in goal, Pope’s been unable to feature throughout this season. Despite being named in England’s World Cup squad, the former Charlton custodian faced a harsh reality when he suffered a dislocated shoulder in Burnley’s Europa League qualifiers in July.
He’s since unable to feature for the Clarets, with Joe Hart’s signing and Tom Heaton’s recent resurgence blocking any chances of returning into the starting lineup. However, that doesn’t mean Pope’s reputation’s gone down. According to reports (via The Sun), Pope’s attracted attention from Arsenal.
The Gunners want to sign a goalkeeper to replace Petr Cech, who is retiring at the end of the season. Pope can be a more than adequate replacement for Cech and can create a friendly competition with Bernd Leno as well. Pope kept 11 clean-sheets for Burnley last season, conceding only 35 goals in as many appearances and making 114 saves! (stats via Premier League)
A towering goalkeeper, he possesses enough where-with-all to collect high crosses and doesn’t let himself get bullied by strikers. Not only is Pope a formidable shot-stopper, pulling off unbelievable saves regularly, he’s also good with distribution and his alertness in goal is exemplary.
Quickly reaching his peak, replacing Pope for the error-prone Cech could be a masterstroke for Arsenal. It’ll give Unai Emery options to choose from two talented, young goalkeepers and help fix Arsenal’s leaky defensive state.