But, what can kind of experience does the 33-year-old who becomes Manuel Pellegrini’s first new shot-stopper at the London Stadium bring to the boys in Claret & Blue? What clubs has he played for and what titles has he lifted during his playing career? And how did it all begin for him? Today, we answer those questions by profiling the veteran.
Lukasz Fabianski was born in the small town of Kostrzyn nad Odra, close to the Polish border with Germany in April 1985, and grew up dreaming of becoming a professional footballer.
He grew up with fellow Poland Internationals Dariusz Dudka and Grzegorz Wojtkowiak and enjoyed a frantic youth career that saw him represent six different clubs.
The one that took the teenager on, on a professional basis was Polish giants Lech Poznan, he first joined at the age of 19 in 2004, quickly progressing through the ranks into the senior set-up, but never getting on the field, competitively.
The ‘keeper turned heads in his homeland and before long, he was snapped up by Poznan’s rivals and one of Poland’s biggest clubs Legia Warsaw in winter 2005.
Here, the shot-stopper would flourish, making his professional debut in the highest tier of Polish football and competing for the No1 spot with future International teammate Artur Boruc.
Fabianski went on to appear over 50 times for the club over a two-and-a-half year period, the highlight of which was a historic triumph in the Ekstraklasa, Poland’s Premier League, in his first few months.
By the end of the 2006/2007 season, the goalkeeper had been named the league’s best for two consecutive campaigns, been capped by the Polish national team and even travelled to a FIFA World Cup as a back-up option.
However, it was now time for him to leave his home nation and venture into the upper echelons of European football, making the move to a team that had been closely tracking him for some time.
This club was Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, with whom he signed for a fee of just over £2 million and would spend the next seven years of his career, a time that was filled with ups and downs.
The Pole’s spell at the Emirates Stadium was blighted by factors such as injuries, significant mistakes, circumstances and poor form, but he still managed to make a name for himself in the Premier League and in European competitions.
The high-profile move also helped his International career to blossom as he had followed the suit of some of his national teammates in moving to England and other European nations.
This was especially relevant in the goalkeeping department with the likes of Boruc and the man who would join him and contend for the No1 spot with in North London, Wojciech Szczesny.
Fabianski has an impressive record of going to every major tournament that the Polish have featured in since the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany, first the 2008 European Championships.
Then the 2012 EUROs, which they co-hosted with the Ukraine and the 2016 European Championships, they failed to qualify for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, but made a return to the tournament in 2018, where he currently is with the rest of the Poland squad.
EURO 2016 in France was arguably his finest hour in goal for his nation team, as he seized an opportunity to replace the injured Szczesny, five years his junior, as the first-choice, early in the tournament.
The vastly-experienced star started two group games and two knockout games as Adam Nawałka’s men bowed out to eventual winner Portugal at the quarter-final stage.
In total, he had made just shy of a half-century of appearances for Poland and that number is continuing to grow, but all the while, at the turn of the decade, Fabianski was continually in and out of the Gunners side.
The Polish’s best term under the guidance of Wenger would arrive in 2010/2011, when he established himself as the number one choice between the sticks and played 20 times in red.
But, even then, the season ended early and in frustration for him as he picked up a serous injury in January 2011, arguably at the height of his powers in English football, and could never recover his place for league matches.
If there was one thing he did do during his time in the capital, however, it was earning the respect of Arsenal’s faithful , leaving as one of their longest serving players of the modern era.
He also shook off the early nickname of “Flappyhandski” given to him for his error-prone nature, he exited the Emirates off the back of helping the “Gooners” to an FA Cup win in the 2014/2015 season.
The ‘keeper with excellent reflexes was quickly snapped up by Swansea City on a free at the end of his contract, where he has enjoyed four successful years as the Welsh club’s number one, making more than two times the appearances he did at Arsenal in almost half the time.
Despite hitting it off with the fans at the Liberty Stadium almost instantly, he did receive the first red card of his career in England with the Swans, ironically, being dismissed for a challenge on West Ham star Diafra Sakho in a 3-1 defeat.
Though, he would soon recover to help the Jacks to three consecutive consistent campaigns in the Premier League under various different managers, in which they managed to avoid the drop to the Sky Bet Championship.
However, his first relegation wouldn’t be far around the corner and in his last season at the Liberty, the 2017/2018 term, the Swans were relegated on the final day under Spaniard Carlos Carvalhal.
Even the best efforts of Fabianski, himself winning the Player of the Year award, couldn’t keep them up and he was being heavily linked with a move elsewhere.
Graham Potter was appointed Swansea boss earlier this month and he couldn’t convince Fabianski to stay, allowing new Hammers gaffer Pellegrini to swoop in for him in the last week.
Though undisclosed, the fee is believed to be in the region of £7 million and after he has completed his 2018 FIFA World Cup duty with Poland and had a short break to recover from the tournament, he will join up with his new teammates for pre-season at Rush Green.
In Lukasz Fabianski, it is clear to see that the Irons are getting a shot-stopper who has played consistently at the highest level, showing his worth in high-stake European ties and cup finals, exactly the kind of calibre that is needed to challenge Adrian San-Miguel for the No1 position and help to take the club to the next level.