If I had a heart, I could love you
If I had a voice, I would sing
After the night when I wake up
I’ll see what tomorrow brings
Word on the street is that with Emiliano Martinez set to leave Arsenal to Aston Villa imminently (more on this anon), the Gunners are looking to replace him with a Viking goalie, Ragnar Lothbrok, I mean, Alex Runarsson. I’m pretty sure there’s a link between Runar Alex Runarsson and Ragnar Lothbrok – they are both Vikings! Runarsson will stand behind the sticks at the Emirates, facing a direct free kick from the opposition, instructing his defenders to mount a shield wall to block the Saxon attackers from Wessex and Northumbria. Now, I’m reaching.
In reality, I know nothing about our potential Viking goalie, so I did what was expected of any blogger – research. Starting his career in his native Iceland with KR Reykjavik, Runarsson made a name for himself when he moved to neighboring Denmark to sign for FC Nordsjaelland. It was in the Danish outfit that he was in the spotlight, winning the Player of the Season award in the 2017/18 campaign. Interestingly, he was under the tutelage of Inaki Cana Pavon, a current goalkeeping coach at Arsenal, so I am positive that the prospect of them walking together again at the Emirates would be exciting for both player and coach.
As expected, he was found by some scouts in France for his goalkeeping heroics in Lord Bendtnerland, and got poached by Dijon FCO two seasons ago. According to WhoScored, he notched up 25 appearances in his first season at the second division French outfit but his game time reduced considerably last season following the acquisition of Alfred Gomis from SPAL, with the Iceland goalie featuring mainly in cup competitions. He was part of the Icelandic setup that travelled to Russia for the FIFA 2018 World Cup but he didn’t feature in any game at the mundial.
Signing Runarsson from Dijon would clearly serve as a cheaper alternative to allow the funds generated from the sale of Martinez and potential sale of Lucas Torreira who seems to be paraded around Italy – first Fiorentina, now Torino! Who knows, he may end up joining Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Roma. We will certainly get a glimpse of Runarsson in the Europa League and cup competitions, while our undisputed No. 1, Bernd Leno, will continue to strut his stuff in the Premier League.
Which brings me to the man of the hour – Emiliano Martinez. Since joining the club as far back as 2010, Martinez has always been on the fringes at the club and was sent on loan to six different clubs to earn some playing time. His appearances at Arsenal were few and far between but one can’t forget that crazy 7-5 League Cup fixture against Reading in 2013. But after so many years waiting for his chance, he got his breakthrough last season following the unfortunate injury Leno suffered against Brighton. In those fixtures he featured, Martinez was a class act and there was a dilemma for the club about who would to be the No. 1 goalie for the new campaign.
Leno returned to full fitness in the summer and Martinez still got the shot at the Community Shield win against Liverpool. However, the gaffer has favored the German shot stopper ahead of Martinez so it makes some sense for the player to want a move away from the club and with Aston Villa offering as much as 20 million quid, it’s a win-win for everyone – Arsenal get some cool cash that can be invested elsewhere while Martinez moves to a club where he would be the No. 1 till Tom Heaton returns from his long term injury at least.
Martinez would be missed as he was clearly a dependable back up goalie, but I guess it’s up to the newbie Viking goalie to show what he’s made of when the opportunities present themselves, that’s if Arsenal is really going for him.
I’m off to binge on some Vikings on Netflix.
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