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Arsenal closing in on Aaron Ramsdale signing

Sheffield United v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Arsenal are close to a transfer move for Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, per Chris Wheatley. The Gunners have been working on a move for the homegrown keeper for most of the summer after a move for Andre Onana didn’t work out. The England international would come in to compete with Bernd Leno for the starting job and would be the heir-apparent. The German’s contract is up in June 2023, and he’s said he would like to finish his career in the Bundesliga. With Ramsdale in the fold, Arsenal would certainly try to sell Bernd Leno between now and when he’d walk for free in a year and a half.

The transfer is reportedly worth £24M with add-ones that could rise to £30M. That number would make him the 6th-most expensive keeper of all-time, behind Kepa Arrizabalaga (2018, £71M), Alisson (2018, £65M), Thibault Courtois (2018, £35M), Ederson (2017, £35M), Gianluigi Buffon (2001, £32.1M) and just ahead of Jordan Pickford (2017, £25M).

For some, the sticking point on buying Ramsdale is the price — that’s a lot of money for a keeper who isn’t going to play right away. For others, it’s that they don’t rate Ramsdale. His boxcars aren’t very good, nor is the fact that he’s been relegated from the Premier League the past two seasons. The advanced statistics from FBRef paint a somewhat-different picture. He’s a good shot-stopper and has very good command of the area. He’s faced a ton of shots in his career and a disproportionate number of high-quality chances. It’s tough to look good as a keeper playing in front of a Swiss cheese defense, even if you’re the greatest keeper ever. Obviously, I’m not saying Ramsdale is, but you have to keep in mind that keepers, perhaps more than any other player on the pitch, are reliant on the team around them to look good.

According to Wheatley, signing Ramsdale does not preclude Arsenal from signing other players. The football.london journalist says that Edu and Mikel Arteta are actively working on other deals. I cannot imagine, or I’m choosing not to believe, that the brass in North London would spend that much money on a second keeper if that prevented the club from signing attacking help. With the continuing links to Martin Ødegaard and James Maddison, it’s pretty clear to me that they understand that Arsenal need another attacker.

Ramsdale was held out of Sheffield United’s EFL Cup match yesterday, which avoided him becoming cup-tied. Manager Slavisa Jokanovic waved away questions about whether it was related to an impending transfer, but if you believe him, I’ve got some oceanfront property in New Mexico to sell you. It looks like a matter of when, not if, will Aaron Ramsdale be an Arsenal player.