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Arsene Wenger keen to keep No. 2 David Ospina at Arsenal - source

Arsene Wenger still hopes to hold on to David Ospina as his No. 2 goalkeeper, a source has told ESPN FC, after the Colombia international joined the Gunners on their preseason tour to the United States.

Ospina has been linked with a move away from the Emirates after losing the starting job to Petr Cech last season, with Turkish club Besiktas reportedly in talks with Arsenal about a bid.

But Ospina was part of the Arsenal squad that flew out to California on Monday for two preseason games, while Wojciech Szczesny was not included amid talk about a continued loan spell at Roma.

And a club source says Wenger still wants Ospina to stay, as the Frenchman continues to rate his back-up very highly and thinks he can provide proper competition to Cech for the starting place.

Wenger has long made it clear that he rates Ospina as a "world-class" goalkeeper and staunchly defended the Colombian after a blunder in a Champions League loss to Olympiakos last year.

David Ospina
Arsene Wenger wants David Ospina to stay and challenge Petr Cech for the starting role at Arsenal.

And the Gunners seemed to turn down a bid from Besiktas earlier this summer, with club president Fikret Orman saying Arsenal were asking for a big transfer fee.

"Arsenal want a lot for him [Ospina] so we may have to look for alternatives," Oman said at the time. "I do want Ospina and we are going to get a foreign keeper."

The Gunners could yet face more bids for Ospina, who had a starring role for Colombia at the Copa America this summer. But holding on to him would provide Wenger with added insurance in the goalkeeper position, especially if Szczesny stays for a second year in Serie A.

Wenger started last season by using Ospina as his cup goalkeeper -- including in the Champions League -- but he faced fierce criticism after the Olympiakos game for not having played Cech. Ospina struggled with injuries following that game, but did well when he had to deputise for an injured Cech in the spring.

Emiliano Martinez of Argentina, who spent last season on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers, was also included in Arsenal's squad for the summer trip after starting the Gunners' first preseason game at RC Lens on Friday.

The youngster is also rated highly by Wenger, but is relatively untested at the top level and would be a riskier option, especially as Cech is 34 years old and missed several weeks with a calf injury last season.

Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.


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