Arsenal announced Alex Runarsson as the team’s new backup keeper today. The Gunners signed the 25-year old Icelander from Dijon, where he has spent the last two seasons. Runarsson overlapped with Arsenal goalkeeper coach Inaka Cana at FC Nordsjaelland, and Mikel Arteta said that familiarity played a big part in the move.
As we’ve noted in the transfer rumor pieces about Runarsson, he didn’t cover himself in glory in Ligue 1. His first season at Dijon saw him give up 9 more goals than expected goal models projected him to, and the club brought in another keeper for competition. In his second season, his goals against was more in-line with his expected goals against. That said, Dijon is not a strong side, battled relegation, and conceded a bunch of shots, so his performance might be as much or more a reflection of the team in front of him than of his ability.
You know who else wasn’t highly touted on his arrival at Arsenal? Bernd Leno. He’s worked out pretty well, I think. I’m willing to trust the club on this one given that track record. And also, sometimes guys have down years and recapture their form with a change of scenery.
The transfer fee has yet to be reported, but the rumors last week had the move somewhere under £2M. That leaves a good chunk of the £20M the club generated from selling Emi Martinez to Aston Villa available to fund other moves.
I’d expect for Runarsson to make his club debut in the Europa League at the end of October, although if Arsenal advance in the Carabao Cup against Leicester City and don’t draw stiff competition in the 4th round, he could get the nod next week.