Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was insistent that Aaron Ramsdale was the best option for his evolving team at the Emirates and the early weeks of the season have backed up his verdict
Mikel Arteta is insistent that he has made no assurances over his long term No.1 at Arsenal, despite Aaron Ramsdale seemingly usurping Bernd Leno.
“If what we want to do is to empower performance and ask them to train, behave and play in the best possible way, how can I guarantee somebody to do something?” Arteta explained earlier this month. “It wouldn’t make sense with what I am demanding them to do.”
But after just two Premier League games for the club, Ramsdale already appears more of an Arteta-type player than Leno ever was.
That isn’t to say the German isn’t a capable ‘keeper – far from it in fact. But his struggles in possession are apparent, particularly with how Arteta likes his side to play out from the back.
During pre-season, the Arsenal boss was left fuming when Leno snubbed the opportunity to play it short to one of his defenders, instead aimlessly lumping it forward.
And even though he kept a clean sheet during the 3-0 Carabao Cup win over AFC Wimbledon, his hesitancy when it came to distribution reared its head.
After collecting a cross, summer signing Nuno Tavares made an adventurous run, moving beyond the Dons right-back. However, Leno held onto the ball, leaving the Portuguese youngster throwing his hands up in frustration.
Ramsdale meanwhile, has not only shown his goalkeeping ability, but the passing traits which made him Arteta’s top target this summer.
At £24million, the decision to bring the former Sheffield United keeper has divided fans, to say the least.
And reports claim, there was also a conflict of opinions, with the Athletic claiming technical director Edu would have preferred a cheaper option.
Barcelona ’s Neto was understood to be on his radar, but Arteta was adamant that Ramsdale fit the bill perfectly for what he was after.
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Along with his calmness in possession, the Gunners boss has regularly pointed towards his new signing’s leadership, believing his propensity to dominate his area on crosses, reflects his personality.
“That’s his character and his leadership. That’s how he presents himself as a person as well and that’s what I like. He has a presence and he dominates his area,” he said after beating Burnley at Turf Moor.
It’s a long season, but the early signs suggest that Arsenal now have someone in between the sticks more aligned with what they want to do on the rest of the pitch.
Tavares’ visible annoyance suggests that the players are also feeling that.