You in all probability don’t wish to have a look at or take into consideration Arsenal’s goalkeeper state of affairs proper now. At least not for those who care about your coronary heart well being and stress ranges. Because it’s “Bernd Leno and [sharp intake of breath] yikes” on the depth chart. Ostensibly Alex Runarsson is the #2 and Arthur Okonkwo is the #3, however neither are a viable choice ought to Bernd Leno miss an prolonged time frame. Arsenal tried and did not mortgage Runarsson to Turkish facet Altay S.Okay., so that ought to let you know nearly all you have to know.
I’ve had the Alex Runarsson expertise, can’t say I like to recommend it. The Icelandic keeper performed so poorly in his appearances final season that Arsenal have been pressured right into a half season mortgage for Mat Ryan (who I don’t know why they didn’t signal on a free switch, however I digress) as a result of they actually couldn’t danger being pressured into taking part in Runarsson. I made this joke on Twitter, however Alex Runarsson is what you’d get for those who turned a kind of inflatable, arm-waving tube man issues that you just see outdoors used automotive dealerships right into a goalkeeper.
Arthur Okonkwo simply signed his first skilled contract this summer time. The membership charges him extremely, however he’s 19 years previous, hasn’t ever performed a senior aggressive minute, and seemed (understandably) a bit shaky in his preseason appearances. The Gunners additionally had 19-year previous academy participant Karl Hein swimsuit up in preseason. He seemed effective, however he’s not the reply.
The $64,000 query is will Edu & Mikel Arteta herald one other keeper earlier than the switch window closes on August thirty first. They should, proper? Arsenal have been closely linked with Sheffield United keeper Aaron Ramsdale, however the Blades have to date doggedly caught to their £30M valuation. That quantity is absurd, and it looks like Arsenal realize it. They’ve made a number of bids for the keeper, however even the newest one was reportedly £18M with as much as £7M in add-ones. I don’t just like the transfer, even at that quantity.
I’d a lot desire the Gunners transfer for Sam Johnstone, with whom they have been linked earlier in the summertime and who was held out of West Brom’s match on the weekend, seemingly in anticipation of a switch. Johnstone, 28, is a significantly better keeper (IMO) than the 23-year previous Ramsdale, however that age distinction may matter to the Arsenal brass. Johnstone can be less expensive, with reviews that he might transfer for as little as £12M.
It’s going to be a bummer when Edu spends the Joe Willock cash on Aaron Ramsdale.
Bernd Leno, 29Best case: he improves on the shape that has made him some of the necessary gamers on the membership the previous few seasons. Seriously, his stellar play has earned the Gunners way more factors than his occasional passing blunder has value them. If he cleans up his passing and improves his command of the world (his greatest weak point), he’d deserve point out within the “greatest keeper within the Premier League” dialog. He wouldn’t be the most effective, however amongst them, completely. That’s his ceiling, and I might see him getting there this 12 months.
Worst case: Leno didn’t appear as constant final season as he had within the earlier years, which feels barely unusual to say in regards to the #1 keeper on the membership that surrendered the third fewest targets within the PL final season. That inconsistency might proceed or worsen. The elephant within the room is that he isn’t dedicated to Arsenal long-term. That’s no secret — he’s stated that he’d prefer to return to the Bundesliga in some unspecified time in the future to complete his profession. And with the combined reviews on whether or not Arsenal have been trying to signal a backup this summer time or real competitors for Leno this summer time, I can see a gradual begin from Leno spiraling right into a “does he wish to be right here” slash “who’s the most effective keeper at Arsenal” (if they convey any person else in) controversy fairly rapidly.
Alex Runarsson, 26Best case: he doesn’t play a minute of soccer for the membership this season. I’m kidding. Kind of. Yes, he was unhealthy final 12 months, however goalkeeper coach Inaki Cana reportedly needed Runarsson on the membership and noticed one thing in him. Maybe no matter that was reveals out this season, Runarsson has a handful of effective / good appearances within the cups, and is offered subsequent summer time.
Worst case: he performs a whole lot of minutes for the membership this season and is simply as poor as he was final season. Again, Arsenal are a Bernd Leno damage on September 1st (after the window closes and the Gunners can’t purchase an emergency alternative) from this being a actuality. I don’t like that.
Arthur Okonkwo, 19Best case: performs a sport or two within the Carabao Cup and isn’t horrible. It’s a low bar for him this season given his age and it being his first 12 months as a full skilled. He began coaching with the primary group final season, and one other season of that ought to assist his growth. That’s all this season (and possibly the following, and even the one after that) is about.
Worst case: Bernd Leno will get harm. Arsenal didn’t / can’t herald an emergency alternative. Alex Runarsson tries to step in and is horrible, as anticipated. Okonkwo will get thrust underneath far more strain than rightfully ought to be positioned on a 19-year previous and is overmatched. Or possibly he surprises us, however then that wouldn’t be the worst case situation, wouldn’t it? We have actually two halves of preseason soccer to go together with for evaluating him.