Arsenal are on the hunt for a goalkeeper this January transfer window.
Watching Runar Alex Runarsson let Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick squirm between his fingertips as Arsenal were humbled by Manchester City brought with it stark realisation: we need another goalkeeper.
The £1.5m signing is out of his depth against Premier League opposition – let alone Molde – and the thought of Bernd Leno being crocked at any stage doesn’t come with the welcome Emiliano Martinez safety net anymore.
Matt Macey has since departed the Emirates for pastures new, leaving an 18-year-old and 19-year-old left to battle it out for the third-choice slot. Probably the backup slot too, if we’re being honest.
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Mikel Arteta divulged his plans for the January transfer window in his most recent press conference, insisting that another goalkeeper has been added to the transfer wishlist which, in truth, was needed anyway. However, the plans have been fast-tracked.
"“We are assessing what is going to happen with the three positions, the discussion we had in the summer within the club are a little bit different to what actually happened because of the transfer window and the situation that developed with Emi,” he told the official Arsenal website. “We are assessing the situation with the three positions on the goalkeeping area and we will find a different solution, probably in this window.”"
Given the latest, who could Arsenal pursue this winter? There are two profiles to aim for: an option for the long-term who will provide competition for Leno further down the line, or an experienced backup to come in for the remainder of the season.
With that in mind, here are five that could be targeted.
Stéphane Ruffier – Free Agent
Heading down the experienced route, Stéphane Ruffier is a free agent after leaving Saint-Etienne. A falling out with Claude Puel occurred in the latter half of last season after he was dropped for Jessy Moulin, and in early January this year his deal was terminated.
With over 550 career appearances to his name, the emergence of someone with his longevity in the game is more than worth taking a look at. Conversations can take place without a hitch, discussions over wages wouldn’t be expected to prove troublesome, and he may be enticed by the idea of a six-month stint in the Premier League.
Of course, he wouldn’t be playing in the top-flight, which could prove tricky in the current climate. Someone who has been regularly featuring for 12 seasons may not be too keen on playing second fiddle to Leno, although there is every chance that he could be given the nod in FA Cup and Europa League matches, depending on how well he performs.
Could that encourage him to make the move? At 34 years old he may not get another chance to try his hand in England, so the allure is there. Sure, Ruffier isn’t the same mould of goalkeeper as Leno, but as a confident, experienced professional to act as cover for the short-term, why not?