Ex-retiree Lehmann signs for Arsenal
A mere ten months after his retirement from soccer and working on German television as a pundit, Jens Lehmann is out to make a grand comeback to English club Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal, confirmed the resigning of a rolling monthly contract.
The 41-year-old goalkeeper made 199 appearances for Arsenal from 2003 to 2008, and represented Germany in up to 61 occasions before his retirement in May 2010.
The Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ side included Lehman as they coursed through the entire 2003-04 season with no loss to their name and garnered the English Premier League title.
Wenger maintained that the contract signing was a plus for the club, which had been beaten out of three matches in the past three weeks, due to injuries sustained by Lukasz Fabianski, Vito Mannone, and Wojciech Szczesny.
He apparently told reporters that Lehmann was training with them and can be expected to play for the rest of the season.
“We have no cover in the Premier League,” he explained, in reference to why he brought Lehmann back.
He added that he was happy with Lehmann’s motivation level during trainings, as he felt that his high motivational level was crucial if he was to play.
Meanwhile, Lehmann was found announcing at the club’s website about how excited he was about rejoining Arsenal.
He claimed he had kept himself fit “since the end of last season,” and added that he was ready to contribute for the team at any time.
He also revealed that he had had lots of good memories from his time at the club, and how it felt special to be returning to a club that always had a special place in his heart.
Interestingly, during his last stay with Arsenal, Lehmann apparently had a fascinatingly frictional relationship with Manuel Almunia, the Spaniard who was Arsenal’s top goalkeeper at the current time. In fact, some of their arguments managed to make their way into the public scene.
When Lehmann lost his position to Almunia in 2007, the German felt it was humiliating, and expressed his anger on German television.
He felt it to be a disgrace “to sit on the bench behind someone who only started playing at 30.”
Almunia reportedly responded through the The Guardian, the British newspaper, quipping how amazing it was to have someone there who hated him.
Despite their record of hostile exchanges, Wenger asserts that there would be no problem when Lehmann arrived to help Arsenal get around the three-point lead by Manchester United at the head of the Premier League.
He pointed out that there was still a lot of respect between these two players, and that he believed having Lehmann around will motivate Almunia to give his best as they fight for the position.