When the club signed Aaron Ramsdale this summer it served as the first step in a clear direction towards a change in the nets for Arsenal. And despite solid performances by Bernd Leno to open the season, the international break and losses to start the year offered Mikel Arteta the perfect chance to make a switch in Arsenal’s starting goalkeeper. Now after a strong run, Ramsdale appears to have secured the number one spot, while questions have begun to intensify around Leno’s future at the club.
In a recent interview with German outlet Bild, Bernd Leno commented “there was no clear reason why I was out, but it had nothing to do with my performance.” Mikel Arteta noted in response, “I had a very clear conversation with him 48 hours before I was going to make the decision.”
To add further intrigue to Leno’s future, Rudy Galetti reported in late September that Inter Milan has an interest in signing Bernd Leno, potentially in the $15 million range. Ramsdale’s arrival and Leno’s demotion have led to numerous keepers being linked with a move to the Emirates in the coming transfer window.
Three Potential Options
Estimated Price: $19 million, contracted through June 2022.
Current Club / Season: Ajax, Eredivisie. Currently serving a doping ban until November 4th. Last season he played 26 times for the Dutch champions, including six in the UEFA Champions League.
Thoughts: Arsenal wouldn’t want to spend near $20 million for a backup, but with Onana’s contract expiring he can sign a pre-contract in January. Despite his doping ban, the club would like to have a player of his potential as the #2 and challenging Ramsdale. However, in recent days rumors have linked Onana with Inter Milan.
Estimated Price: $20 million, contracted through June 2024.
Current Club / Season: Brentford, Premier League. Seven starts in the league as the newly-promoted side find themselves in 7th place and just four points behind the leaders.
Thoughts: Linked with Raya in the past, his connection to Arsenal at this point seems unlikely. The player wouldn’t want to give up his starting role at Brentford nor would the club be opening to selling him at this point as they look to establish themselves in the Premier League once again. And finally, Arsenal will not be interested in spending anywhere near Raya’s estimated value for a backup keeper after Ramsdale’s transfer.
Estimated Price: $6-7 million, contracted through June 2023.
Current Club / Season: Barcelona, La Liga. He has made two appearances both in the club’s opening two matches of the season. Last season he managed just 12 starts for Barcelona.
Thoughts: Is Neto really looking to leave his role as Barcelona backup to become Arsenal’s backup? Especially with fewer matches with the Gunners out of Europe this season. However, the Spanish side would likely be happy to keep removing players from their books to help elevate their financial troubles. Overall this move seems unlikely, but Arsenal would probably prefer a more senior backup for Ramsdale for the next few seasons.
Whether it’s January or the summer, Bernd Leno’s exit seems quite certain, unless there is a dramatic turn in Ramsdale’s form (or an injury). So what profile will Arsenal look for as a backup to Aaron Ramsdale to both push him in training, but understand they enter as the clear number two?