Arsenal: Arteta makes baffling Bernd Leno future promise

Watching on as Mikel Arteta fielded five of his six new signings in the 1-0 win over Norwich felt like a breathe of fresh air; an Arsenal largely unrecognisable from the three previous iterations of the team in the Premier League.

An injection of youth and exuberance was precisely what the team and the home crowd craved. While framing the game as the ‘start of the season’ has been overused, it feels apt. With the transfer window closed and all of the mitigation Arsenal were afforded in regards to absences no longer applicable, it has that feeling to it.

Aaron Ramsdale personified that with his inclusion in the team. Always due to take over the number one spot in goal at some stage due to the faith in him and the money parted with, his selection arriving as soon as it did was surprising.

Praised by his manager and with reasons aplenty for him to nail down that place as his to lose, why change now?

Mikel Arteta makes baffling promise to Bernd Leno about his Arsenal future after dropping him for Aaron Ramsdale for win over Norwich

This is where it gets interesting. Or, more appropriately, silly.

Sport BILD’s well-known head of football, Christian Falk, has come out with some bizarre insight. The like that doesn’t appear to make any sense but coming from him has naturally been widely circulated.

Falk, with strong connections to German football, claims that Arteta has promised Leno that the decision to drop him against the Canaries was part of a wider plan to give the 29-year-old a break. One that will last two games (two Premier League games, presumably) and that he will return to the starting lineup for the visit of Tottenham.

Then it will be seen whether Arteta ‘keeps his word’.

Now, why on earth would Arteta do that? Is he not trying to work around the concept of a meritocracy, one that he began to finally grasp in the second half of last season when Willian was no longer a certified starter?

There is such minimal logic behind it, especially if Ramsdale has a fine display against Burnley, keeps a clean sheet and continues to show much better his distribution is than his teammate’s. Nobody can keep a promise this way: it only succeeds in damaging relationships one way or the other.

Not one for fabrication, the specificity of the claim is nonetheless peculiar.

However, even on the basis that Arteta has made this promise (which is wildly open for debate) it would require Ramsdale dropping a few considerable clangers just to make the manager keep it. Working within the parameters of him actually telling Leno this (again, very open for debate), if he continues to see improvements in the back five he simply can’t make that call. No way.

As soon as Ramsdale made the Norwich team and fulfilled his task, that was that. Promise this and promise that, all teams should be based on merit. In goal for Arsenal should be no different.

The shirt is his to lose, not to keep warm.