Arsenal has completed a number of player exits already this summer, primarily at the U23 level, but most notably Matteo Guendouzi heading to Marseille. While we wait for the club’s first official addition ahead of the 2021-22 season, expected to be Nuno Tavares, we know there will be activity over the next month in regards to Arsenal’s goalkeeper depth.
Last season’s loanee backup keeper Mat Ryan is rumored to be close to announcing a move to Real Sociedad. And with longtime U23 keeper Matt Macey leaving to join Hibernian this past January, Arsenal have plenty of question marks regarding who will man the nets for the Gunners outside of Bernd Leno.
After a surprise move last summer and a handful of forgettable appearances, the Icelandic keeper is expected to make his exit this month. Runarsson is set to join the Turkish club Altay Spor, as first reported by Ege Engin, who earned promotion to the Süper Lig last season, Purchased for just over $2 million ten months ago, Arsenal won’t turn a profit here but are ready to move on and leave Runarsson as little more than the answer to a future trivia question.
With Mat Ryan seemingly moving on, Arsenal have been linked with England national team keepers Aaron Ramsdale and Sam Johnstone. Now add the resurfacing of Barcelona’s Neto back into the mix. Linked with a move to the Emirates last January before Arsenal added Ryan, Mundo Deportivo has Arsenal potentially back in for the Brazilian’s services, along with a few other Premier League clubs. Turning 32 later this month, Neto would offer a great addition to Leno as an experienced 1-2 keeper combination for Arsenal over the next few seasons.
For the last few years, Matt Macey has been the name 3rd in line for Arsenal’s goal. But already 26, it was well past time for Macey to move on from the academy setup. This past season we saw Arthur Okonkwo (19) and Karl Hein (19) step as the next in line, both often training with the first team and both named to the bench for a handful of matches. With Okonkwo’s contract expiring last week and Hein’s set to expire next summer, decisions are needed on if either might have the potential to one day be a senior keeper for Arsenal.
As reported by Football.London, Okonkwo is expected to sign a new long-term contract with Arsenal soon. If he does sign he would either become the club’s third-choice keeper for the ‘21-22 season and the U23s primary. Or he could sign, head out on a full-season loan to get playing experience at the senior level, and then leave that split role to Karl Hein. Regardless of who Arsenal sign as the #2 to Leno, I’d prefer for the second option in onder to see how Okonkwo performs in the lower divisions, while also being able to give Hein a full look with the U23s each week.
Arsenal clearly have moves to make this summer regarding the goalkeeper position. Does anyone think Runarsson shouldn’t head out this summer transfer window? Thoughts on Neto as the backup/competition for Bernd Leno for the next two seasons? Would you prefer to see Okonkwo have a full season as the U23s primary keeper or out on loan as a starter in the League One or Two?