The signing of Aaron Ramsdale is beginning to make slightly more sense. Arsenal forking out a full £24m, a deal that will eventually rise to nearer £30m, on a goalkeeper to play backup for an entire season came across as a bemusing distribution of resources.
Considering that the midfield remains thin on the ground with Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Albert Sambi Lokonga acting as the only reliable, high quality options, putting the Ramsdale deal on hold for a season felt like more reasonable use of the summer transfer kitty.
All of which was under the impression that Ramsdale would be gradually integrated into the starting lineup. With Bernd Leno getting the nod in the opening three Premier League matches – the heavy defeats not of his doing – the process looked like being a cautious one.
Thrust into the team that beat Norwich last time out, the 23-year-old’s involvement has transpired far sooner than anticipated, even internally. The money looks more wisely spent if the impression on the first team is instantaneous. It appears to be so.
Arsenal make Bernd Leno future decision for January transfer window as Aaron Ramsdale becomes Mikel Arteta’s number one goalkeeper
The number one jersey now looks like being Ramsdale’s. Heaping praise on the new arrival after a mostly uneventful league debut, it would require a string of clangers and poor performances for that to change.
It means Leno’s time at Arsenal is drawing to a close. It always was; nobody envisaged a future for the German at the club beyond the current campaign with his contract expiring in 2023, the only difference being that he was expected to play more regularly up until an eventual departure.
That has prompted talk of what could be an earlier than anticipated move out of north London. Just three and a half months away from the January transfer window opening, given Leno’s contract nearing its expiry and the lack of minutes not helping whatever transfer value he holds, a winter sale was on he cards.
As per Sami Mokbel, that isn’t the case.
In fact, there is ‘little chance’ of a mid-season transfer for the 29-year-old even if he fails to wrestle his way back into the number one slot.
From a financial point of view, were Arsenal able to secure a buyer for the keeper signed for around £20m then they would not get a better offer than January, but after multiple windows of major upheaval, some stability in the squad needs to be aimed for. This, of course, if they even receive any offers.
Even if it’s a disgruntled goalkeeper (anyone not playing is not in the best of moods) Leno will be needed across the season and there is no certainties that Ramsdale can get through the campaign unscathed – either physically or in regards to form.
It would also prompt the signing of another goalkeeper in a market that is always tough to navigate through. Even with Karl Hein in strong form, it’s not ideal. The report adds that a summer sale is being eyed instead, which was fairly conclusive even before Leno got usurped in the team.
Leno has to show professionalism for this season, as he has done throughout his time at Arsenal even when he was backup to Petr Cech. Vastly more experienced than Ramsdale, the pair need to keep pushing each other. Competition for places is healthy, even if the writing is on the wall for the German.
It’s too soon to get him out of the club, especially considering a decent argument could be made for him to not warrant being out of the starting lineup.