x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Retired Jens Lehmann returns to Arsenal

The German goalkeeper who left the English Premier League club in the summer of 2008 after a five-year spell has signed a contract until the end of the season.

Jens Lehmann, the former Germany international, came out of retirement at the age of 41 to solve Arsenal's goalkeeping crisis.

Lehmann, who left Arsenal in the summer of 2008 after a five-year spell with the English Premier League club, signed a rolling monthly contract until the end of the season.

"We have no cover in the Premier League, so that is why I decided to bring Jens back," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "Jens knows the club very well, is vastly experienced and will also be an extremely positive influence in the dressing room during his time with us."

Wojciech Szczesny, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone are all out injured, leaving Wenger with just one fit goalkeeper – Manuel Almunia.

Lehmann, who played 61 times for Germany, is available for selection for Arsenal's Premier League match at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

He retired last year when his contract expired at Stuttgart after two seasons with the Bundesliga team.

"I'm very excited to be rejoining Arsenal," Lehmann said. "I have kept myself fit since the end of last season and I'm ready to contribute at any time for the team. "I have many great memories from my previous time at the club and Arsenal has always had a place in my heart. It's special to be coming back."

After lengthy stints at German sides Schalke and Borussia Dortmund, Lehmann joined Arsenal in 2003 and was part of the team that won the English title in 2004 – when the Gunners went through the season unbeaten.

Lehmann was also sent off in the first half of their loss to Barcelona in the Champions League final in Paris in 2006. He played 199 games for Arsenal in his career.

By the end of his time at Emirates Stadium, Lehmann's rivalry with Almunia had become intense, with the German claiming that being dropped at the expense of the Spanish goalkeeper was a "humiliation".

Lehmann's experience should come in handy for Arsenal, who have been criticised for lacking leaders in the locker room as their season unravels.

The Gunners lost the League Cup final to Birmingham on February 27 and have since been eliminated from the Champions League by Barcelona and the FA Cup by Manchester United.

Arsenal still have the Premier League to play for. The team are three points behind league leaders United, who have played a game more.

Goalkeeper is not the only position where Arsenal are struggling for cover.

Wenger said that Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen, who hasn't featured for the team since August because of an Achilles' tendon injury, was ruled out for the rest of the season while fellow centre back Johan Djourou was out for six weeks.

Djourou dislocated his shoulder in the second half of Arsenal's 2-0 defeat at United in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Saturday.