The pushback from Arsenal supporters over the signing of Aaron Ramsdale reached disgraceful new lows before the goalkeeper was even pictured holding the shirt aloft. A transfer that warrants a few eyebrows being raised, it also never validated despicable online abuse.
Having to limit the number of comments on his social media posts after being flooded with messages telling him not to sign for the club – which is the PC version of the foul language that was actually used – the line from constructive criticism to impermissible abuse was crossed by miles.
Arsenal have sorely needed a new goalkeeper this summer following Mat Ryan’s six-month loan coming to an end, and with initial plans set out, the decision to focus on securing a young and homegrown stopper led them to the Sheffield United man.
Wanting to add to the British core already at the club, negotiations began with the Blades for the 23-year-old over a fee that would dwarf what was usually expected of a backup goalkeeper. After all, Bernd Leno is still the number one a the club.
Arsenal: 3 positives of Aaron Ramsdale summer transfer as Mikel Arteta lands £24m goalkeeper from Sheffield United
Discussions were on the brink of collapsing only for the south Yorkshire outfit to lower their demands, a decision aided, but not dictated, by Ramsdale’s desire to return to the Premier League and play for The Arsenal.
On a deal that could total £30m if certain add-ons are met, Arsenal have committed to the idea bringing Ramsdale in and feel the outlay is warranted, despite reservations from many supporters over the Stoke-born man’s ability and track record.
Equally, with a right-back and forward still on the agenda this summer, the £24m initial outlay is understandably deemed a significant amount of money to part with for a player who isn’t expected to walk straight into the first team.
He is, however, an Arsenal player (potentially eligible to face Chelsea) and despite all the external concerns over his acquisition there are plenty of positive aspects to his addition. Here are three.
Aaron Ramsdale Was Heavily Scouted by Data Analysts
When Ramsdale’s name first appeared to be linked with Arsenal, the natural reaction was, firstly, to disregard the speculation as it was such a far cry from the Andre Onana deal that had fans pleading for the club to pull off.
Then, when it became clear that the rumours had basis, the finger began being pointed at Inaki Cana for what was deemed to be another terrible recommendation having been key to bringing in Alex Runarsson last summer.
Working with the Icelandic stopper gave him something of an inside track, and while Runarsson was never intended to be fighting for the number one slot, even as backup he was hopelessly out of his depth.
In this case, however, Arsenal sounded out Ramsdale as their first choice target with the pursuit led by a team of data analysts who earmarked the 23-year-old as the best option on the market for what they were after. They admired his footwork at Bournemouth and with the England Under-21 side, as well as his quick and accurate throwing.
Sure, when the profile in question was a homegrown player it significantly limited the talent pool to choose from, but this is nevertheless not led by Cana and instead largely aided by those who sounded out Ben White as the prime centre-back target.
Everyone has their own view of Ramsdale – the vast majority being unconvinced – yet the experts on goalkeepers clearly feel differently as it’s rare for Arsenal to ever be investing such an amount of money in this position. You’d like to think they know what they’re doing.