Done deal: Arsenal's Wojciech Szczesny joins AS Roma on season long loan

Wojciech Szczesny have completed his season-long loan move from Arsenal to As Roma. 

It was obvious he's surplus to requirement at Arsenal after Petr Cech moved to the Emirates from London rivals Chelsea. 

Szczesny: The first Roma interview

After completing the formalities of his loan move to Roma, Wojciech Szczesny sat down with Roma TV to discuss the attraction of the Giallorossi, his excitement about playing in this season’s Champions League and his message for the supporters… 

Wojciech, welcome to AS Roma. How does it feel to have completed your loan move?

“It obviously feels very good. I’ve been waiting for this to happen for the last few days. I couldn’t wait to get here and now I’m here. It’s great to meet everyone around the club. Now I can’t wait to get started with some hard work.”

Lots of clubs were interested in taking you on loan this summer. Why did you choose Roma?

“It was a no-brainer for me. Once the offer from Roma came in, I spoke to Arsene Wenger and he told me it would be a fantastic move for me to join Roma and play in the Champions League, fight for the Serie A title and try and improve the squad. I then spoke to Walter Sabatini and made my decision very quickly. I think it’s a great opportunity for me to gain valuable experience as a young goalkeeper but also to try and help the team.”

What did Walter Sabatini say to you?

“He told me that he’d love to have me at the club and that he thought I could improve the squad. I spoke to him again 10 minutes before this interview and he told me what he expects of me, which is to work really hard and really be a part of this great football club. I’m really, really looking forward to it and I’m very happy for the warm welcome I’ve received.”

Roma fans are known for their incredible support. How excited are you about running out in front of the Curva Sud at the Stadio Olimpico as a Roma player?

“I can’t wait to experience that. My friends have been showing me videos of the Roma supporters and they look really passionate. That’s what I’m really looking forward to from my time here – a lot of passion – because I’m a very passionate person myself and I can’t wait to get out there for the first time.”

How much do you know about AS Roma?

“I know Roma are a great club. I know they came second in Serie A last season and I’ve obviously watched them in the Champions League. They’ve got a fantastic group of players. I watched the pre-season games this summer and obviously Francesco Totti is a massive legend at this club and I’m quite excited to meet him tomorrow. As I’ve watched them many times, it’s not a totally new experience for me. I know the faces of the players and I know their names, so hopefully I settle in very quickly.”

Are you excited by the challenge of playing in Serie A for the first time?

“It’s a new experience for me. As a 25-yaer-old goalkeeper, I’m still quite young, and I try and learn from every single game. So for me to come to a new country, try and learn a new language so I can communicate with a new group of players and play in a new league, it will be a great experience for me. However, as I said to Walter earlier, I don’t want to focus on just getting experience here and going back to Arsenal. I didn’t come here just to go back to Arsenal after one year. I’ve come here to win trophies with AS Roma and I believe that the team is strong enough to do so. I think there’s great potential. I’m here to win games and trophies for this club.”

Your new team-mates have just arrived back in Rome after a successful tour of Australia and Indonesia. Did you follow the coverage of the incredible scenes over there?

“Yes, I saw the games in Australia against Real Madrid and Manchester City. I think the team played really well. That’s what I try to focus on when I watch a team that I know I’m going to be joining – I try to focus on the quality of the team and trying to get to know the players. I think the team showed good potential. I didn’t see too much of Jakarta – just the little bits you can see on Instagram. I went to Jakarta with Arsenal two years ago so I know what to expect. It’s crazy, right? I’m sure they enjoyed the trip and are ready to work again.”

You’ve been at Arsenal since 2006. Are you excited or nervous about joining up with your new teammates?

“Excited rather than nervous. There’s always excitement about meeting a new group of players. I obviously have to learn Italian the best I can – I have to communicate with them. In the last week, I’ve already made an effort to take some Italian lessons back in London so I’m going to try and settle in very quickly and show my qualities on the pitch, which is the most important thing.”

You’ve spent your whole career at Arsenal playing for Arsene Wenger. Are you looking forward to working with another French coach in Rudi Garcia?

“Arsene Wenger told me that Rudi Garcia is a very good manager. I also have Mathieu Debuchy, who played for Rudi Garcia at Lille, and he had some good things to say about him as well. I’m excited – as I said, I’m trying to gain experience every day from everyone I meet, every new coach. I’m looking forward to working with him and with the goalkeeping coach and trying to become a better goalkeeper and a better person.”

At 25, you’re still very young for a goalkeeper but you already have a lot of experience at the highest level. What do you consider your best attributes of your game?

“I believe I’m able to win points for the team. I think that when you look at a goalkeeper over a season, you want to see how many points you’ve won for the team and how many mistakes you’ve made. You add them all up and you hope that your goalkeeper has won points for the team. I had a difficult time last year – I’m the first person to admit that. I didn’t have the best of seasons, that’s why things have turned out the way they have, but I’m grateful because it gives me the opportunity to join Roma this season. I believe if I work hard – and with the help of the coaches – I’ll be able to help the team improve from last season and hopefully challenge for the title.”

What areas of your game do you think you can still improve?

“Absolutely every single one. In football, I believe that there is no finished article. You have to keep getting better every single day. You look at players like Francesco Totti, he’s 38 and he’s still getting better and better. It’s incredible to see. No matter how good you are, you have to aim to get better in every single aspect of your game.”

What do you hope to achieve at Roma this season?

“As I said, I’m here to win. The dream scenario would be to win Serie A and do well in the Champions League. We’ll see, it’s always difficult to guess a month before the season starts what the outcome is going to be. I’m sure that with the potential that this group of players has, this team is capable of challenging for the title and improving on last year.”

How much are you looking forward to playing in the Champions League this season?

“I’ve played in the Champions League for five years now with Arsenal and they’re always special nights. It was a very important aspect of my move here – I knew that I was going to get the opportunity to play in the Champions League against the best teams in Europe. I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we can improve on how we did last year. I watched the game against Manchester City and thought we did really well, but you want to get out of the group stages and be in the quarter-finals and who knows, get to the final and win the thing.”

Finally, do you have a message for the Roma fans who are very excited about your arrival?

“I want to thank them for the welcome. I had a very warm welcome at the airport – it was very overwhelming, very passionate and I want to thank them and promise them that although I’m only here for a year, I will do my absolute best for this football club and I’ll give my heart and soul to this club for a year. I hope it pays off with a lot of wins and trophies at the end of the season.”

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