Arsenal 'could have had Schwarzer free'

Mark Schwarzer could have joined Arsenal before he signed for Fulham two years ago, according to his former agent Barry Silkman.

Silkman claims the in-demand Australian was offered to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger during the final year of his contract with Middlesbrough in 2008 but Wenger chose to sign young Polish keeper Lukasz Fabianski instead.

GEAR: Arsenal home, away, retro and training tops available here with a 10% discount

But with Fabianski failing to prove himself at Emirates Stadium Manuel Almunia's form proving erratic, Schwarzer has been the subject of two unsuccessful bids from Wenger ahead of Tuesday's transfer deadline.

“His current situation is he wants to leave,” Silkman told “I think he’ll be really frustrated and obviously you only get one chance to go to a club like Arsenal.

“It’s funny actually because years ago when he was coming to the end of his contract at Middlesbrough, and he hadn’t agreed an extension, I spoke with Arsenal and they weren’t sure as they had other goalkeepers on the horizon.

Arsenal went on to sign Fabianski from Legia Warsaw that summer while Schwarzer penned a two-year deal with Roy Hodgson's Fulham.

He proved to be an inspired signing for Hodgson over the two seasons that passed, playing a pivotal role in the Fulham team that finished runners-up in last season's Europa League.

And Silkman believes Arsenal made a massive error.

“I told them they were making a mistake, and to be honest I think they did make a mistake," Silkman continued.

“He would have been available on a free and I’m not being biased because I was his representative, but for 10, 11 years he has been the most consistent goalkeeper in the Premier League."

Fulham boss Mark Hughes had hoped to complete a loan move for Manchester City's out-of-favour keeper Shay Given before the transfer deadline, freeing up Schwarzer to complete his dream move to Emirates Stadium.

But with his Manchester City counterpart Roberto Mancini insisting that Given will remain at Eastlands for now, Schwarzer's move to North London appears to be off, with Fulham confirming on Tuesday lunchtime that the stopper was to stay at Craven Cottage.

“He’s now got one chance to get out and obviously if he doesn’t he’ll be very frustrated," said Silkman.

"That’s the name of the game, that’s football; if a club has you under contract the bottom line is they can do what they want to do."

By James Martini

Interact: Twitter * Facebook * Forums