Wojciech Szczesny bade an emotional farewell to Arsenal upon completing his transfer to Juventus, a move he feels he is absolutely ready for.
The Poland international goalkeeper is well accustomed to life in Serie A, having spent the last two years on loan at Roma. His performances warranted interest from champions Juve, who have agreed a package worth a potential £13.5million to lure him from the Emirates Stadium.
Szczesny is unlikely to wrestle the gloves from Gianluigi Buffon just yet, but with the 40-year-old set to retire at the end of the World Cup Finals next summer, time is on the younger man’s side. And the 27-year-old insists he is ready to become the new number one for the Turin giants.
“Juventus have chosen me, and I’m absolutely ready to face this challenge,” he said. “At Juve there’s the right mentality to achieve great objectives. Juve deserve to win the [UEFA] Champions League and a player like Buffon deserves to win it. I’m a Juve player now and I have no weaknesses.”
During his unveiling as a Juve Szczesny was unable to reflect on his time at Arsenal as he was overcome with emotion, given that he initially linked up with the club as a 16-year-old back in 2006. However, he paid a touching tribute to the club later in the day with a post on his Instagram account.
“When I was approached by Arsenal in 2005 my world changed forever,” he wrote. “It has been over 11 years since I became an Arsenal player and I never thought the day I leave this club would come. Everything that I am and everything that I have, I owe to Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Liam Brady, David Court, Bob Arber, Steve Bould, Neil Banfield, Mike Salmon, Tony Roberts, Gerry Peyton, Pat Rice and many others. Today I move on, ready for the new challenge in my life, taking with me only the good memories and bags of experience.
“I leave hopeful that those days of [Dennis] Berkamp, [Thierry] Henry, [David] Seaman and others are soon to return to Emirates Stadium and Arsenal get back to winning the Premier League. I may be an Arsenal player no more but I will carry the Arsenal name with me wherever I go and I will do so with great pride. Once a Gunner, always a Gunner!”