GOOD NIGHT SWEET PRINCE
According to the club's official website, Manuel Almunia will be one of seven Arsenal players released when their contracts expire at the end of June. Almunia has had an uneven Arsenal career, and with the emergence of Wojciech Szczesny as the team's premier goalkeeper, it was pretty clear that one way or the other, Almunia's usefulness at the club was over.
The Spanish keeper is not likely to be the last Gunner to leave this summer, as manager Arsene Wenger has said that he intends to cull from the wage books and remove some players who, like Almunia, are past their purpose at Arsenal. Even so, it's encouraging to see it actually happening in real time.
Almunia began his career touted as a possible long-term replacement for legendary insane German person Jens Lehmann, and while he literally replaced him in the 2006 Champions League final after Lehmann was sent off, he never really met the expectations set out for him. He was largely inconsistent, with some horror show matches (the draw against West Brom last March comes to mind) and some really good ones (like his emergency appearance at the Nou Camp, also last year), but mostly he was just kind of bad. He made too much money and wasn't trusted to play, so it's for the best that he is gone. But he seemed a nice man, and I always wished a better existence for him. So hopefully he can find his level somewhere other than here.
In addition to Almunia, professionals George Brislen-Hall, Gavin Hoyte, Sean McDermott, and Rhys Murphy will be leaving the club, as well as scholars James Campbell and Jeffrey Monakana. Good night, and good luck to all of them.