Thoughts on Arsenal’s Links with David Raya
David Raya had been on Arsenal’s radar in 2020, when he was still in the Championship with Brentford, but Arsenal’s £10 million offer to Brentford was rejected, and the Gunners went to Sheffield United to sign Aaron Ramsdale to provide competition to Bernd Leno, with Emiliano Martinez moving to Aston Villa. We all know how it panned out – Leno lost his place in the squad to Ramsdale, and Arsenal signed Matt Turner as backup to Rammy.
Ramsdale had his struggles in his first Arsenal season but showed massive improvement last season, starting all 38 games in the Premier League for the Gunners, making 94 saves and keeping 14 clean sheets. Ramsdale also grew in influence in the club, and right earned himself a new contract extension.
It seemed that Arteta and Edu Gaspar were focused with player departures ahead of the new campaign, but the transfer window can be very dynamic and sometimes, clubs have to react to mitigate potential changes with player movements. The Mail Online published an article confirming Nottingham Forest’s interest in signing Turner from Arsenal, which will leave a backup goalkeeping void with the likes of Karl Hein, Arthur Okonkwo and Runar Alex Runarsson not good enough to compete for Arsenal at Premier League and Champions League level.
Turner would know that his only avenue to game time this season would be in the domestic league cup competitions, and if Arsenal crash out early, he will have to wait for something as extreme as Ramsdale getting injured before he can feature between the sticks again, and with Nottingham Forest calling, surely he would heed the call. Keylor Navas has returned to Paris and Dean Henderson is closer to being Andre Onana’s backup than being No. 1 at Nottingham Forest. The club still has the seasoned veteran, Wayne Hennessey, and the returning Ethan Horvath, that had a great loan spell in the Championship for Luton Town last season, but Turner represents experience and a cheap avenue to have a consistent goalie in the Premier League. He’s also a full time international player and will want to keep his place in the USMNT squad by getting good minutes in club football.
With Turner potentially leaving, signing Raya would be very interesting, because the goalkeeping position isn’t one that requires much rotation. If you look at the big Premier League sides, they usually have one dominant goalie and a not so good backup.
Raya put up some monster numbers last season for Brentford, helping them to their mid-table finish with some breathtaking goalkeeping displays. He was first in the Premier League last season for saves (154), first for saves from outside the box (64), first for touches (1,550), first for long passes completed (410) and second for crosses caught (50), garnering 12 clean sheets along the way.
In direct comparison with Ramsdale, Raya faced 205 shots and conceded 43 goals while Ramsdale faced 138 shots and conceded 42. However, Ramsdale beat Raya to win the Best Goalkeeper award in the London Awards, as well as the Premier League Team of the Season.
Like Ramsdale, Raya is an excellent shot stopper, contains bags of bravery and can build up from the back. So Arteta will be signing a goalie that can offer just as much as Ramsdale in goal. However, Raya’s arrival will produce very stiff competition for Ramsdale and he would know that he’s one cock up away from being benched permanently, and at a club like Arsenal, the trend is quite scary – Leno came up as a backup to Petr Cech, Cech messed up, Leno stepped in. Ramsdale did the same to Leno, and he will be fully aware of how ruthless Arteta can be.
Ramsdale might have usurped Leno to be the No. 1 goalie at Arsenal, but he would know that he will need to improve massively with how he deals with crosses, his distribution, his command of area and sometimes, his one-on-one duels with opposition forwards. Arsenal fans will not be quick to forget how he fed the ball directly to Carlos Alcaraz in the 3-3 draw against Southampton last season, and he has already shown two gaffes in preseason – deceived with the bounce of the ball from Bruno Fernandes shot and his flat-footedness from Raphinha’s free kick.
Arsenal hasn’t launched an official bid for Raya and a whole lot can happen between now and when the window ends on September 1st. Till then, we will keep monitoring the situation and react accordingly.
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Posted on July 31, 2023, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Transfer Gossip and tagged Aaron Ramsdale, Arsenal, David Raya, Football, Premier League, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.