Arsenal facing big goalkeeper conundrum in pre-season

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Arsenal, Bernd Leno

Arsenal facing big goalkeeper conundrum in pre-season with Bernd Leno not available and contract situations to sort in summer transfer window. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Despite the European Championships still some way off completion and the summer transfer window being in full swing, pre-season for Arsenal is just around the corner and there is plenty that needs solving in time for the July start.

Busy dealing with potential arrivals in north London in the form of a defender and a midfielder, there are also a mountain of departures to contend with for Mikel Arteta and Edu.

As ever for all managers during the summer, getting preferred targets signed early into the window ensures there is as much time as possible to get them up to speed with the ideas and to build fitness.

Nothing ever runs quite so smoothly in the world of football and as it stands, Arsenal have a goalkeeping conundrum on their hands as they begin preparing for their first pre-season clash with Hibernian on July 13.

Arsenal facing big goalkeeper conundrum in pre-season with Bernd Leno not available and contract situations to sort in summer transfer window

Currently away with Germany at Euro 2020, depending on how Bernd Leno’s side fare in the tournament with their last 16 knockout tie against England to come, there is no chance that the 29-year-old will be back in time to link up with the rest of the squad as planned.

Given Mat Ryan’s loan has ended and there have yet to be any strong indications that he will return to Arsenal in some capacity, that leaves the only senior option at the club as Runar Alex Runarsson.

Now there needn’t be any unnecessary dissecting into what ability he has, but while pre-season isn’t worth anything in terms of points, the Icelandic goalkeeper is widely expected to leave north London on loan this summer anyway. If so, he may not even be around for the start of the tour to Florida nor the trips north to Scotland.

Rumours continue to circulate around Andre Onana’s future, with Arsenal still mulling over whether to bring in the Cameroonian stopper in from Ajax on a bargain deal as he has just one year left to run on his contract.

Even if they do, part of the reason his fee is so minor is because he can’t even train with his new teammates until September or even play competitively until November. His signing, while desired, doesn’t solve this particular conundrum.

Talk has intensified that Arteta is chasing a young, homegrown keeper in this window to develop into a long-term option and help meet the quota, but as of yet only links to Aaron Ramsdale (who would also be given an extended break) and faint speculation around Freddie Woodman remains.

So, bring in some academy options to play? Even that avenue isn’t so simple.


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