4643810

‘Arlauskis would be open to Steaua return’

Giedrius Arlauskis’ agent, Istrati Leonid, says the Watford goalkeeper would be open to a return to former club Steaua Bucharest this summer as Espanyol can’t afford to make his loan switch permanent.

Arlauskis – who is Lithuania’s first-choice goalkeeper and has won 23 caps – joined Watford last June on a free transfer from Steaua as Heurelho Gomes’ understudy.

The 28-year-old’s game time was unsurprisingly limited. He started the Hornets’ Capital One Cup defeat at Preston North End in August and then played the final 23 minutes of Watford’s 3-2 win at Aston Villa after Gomes had suffered a head injury.

However, Arlauskis was thoroughly unconvincing at Villa Park and Watford’s hierarchy opted to bring in experienced stopper Costel Pantilimon from Sunderland when the transfer window reopened in January.

4713928

Arlauskis, who spoke to Pantilimon prior to the Romanian joining the Hornets, went on to join Espanyol on a six-month loan deal in January but, due to a thigh injury, only played three matches in which he conceded 15 goals.

The Spanish club, according to Leonid, are unable to sign the goalkeeper permanently because they can’t afford the reported €2m fee and, with his opportunities at Watford likely to remain limited, Arlauskis may look for a move away this summer.

“Arla will not remain at Espanyol since the leaders of this team have announced that they have no money to pay his transfer clause,” Leonid said in a translated interview with www.fanatik.ro

“He still has a contract with Watford but [I] do not know where he’ll play [this] summer. We will take into account offers and those from Romania. I wouldn’t even rule out a return to Steaua but there is nothing certain. Arla has not forgotten that Steaua held out a hand before. If they call back his services then we will sit at the negotiating table.”