Well that was rather quick. Less than 24 hours after it looked like Sheffield United’s keeper Aaron Ramsdale was headed toward the Emirates, it now looks like the transfer could be dead in the water, with reports citing an inability for the clubs to agree on a valuation for the homegrown shot stopper.
In all honesty, this could be a blessing in disguise. Despite Arsenal’s need for a backup to Bernd Leno, Sheffield’s asking price, which was in the neighborhood of £30m, was shockingly high for a keeper of Ramsdale’s caliber. With far more pressing needs to address, a back up keeper is not the top priority, and it would have bordered on criminally negligent for Arsenal to invest £30m for a keeper who doesn’t present a real threat to push to Bernd Leno, especially a season after selling Emi Martinez (you know, the guy who has become a top keeper in the PL and also would have counted as home grown) for a similar sum.
In our goalkeeper preview for the season, we looked at Arsenal’s keeper situation, and, boy, is it bleak. The sentiment that the Gunners are in dire need of a competent backup is an understatement. The gulf between Leno and backups Alex Runarsson and Academy grad Alex Okonkwo is Atlantic Ocean massive. The loan of Matt Ryan from Brighton last season seemed to shore up the gap well, but his move to Real Sociedad has shut that door for good.
Arsenal have shown more mettle this window in regards to being taken advantage of, first with Roma’s attempt to lowball Granit Xhaka, and now with Sheffield’s attempt to bilk the club for an average keeper. I’m no business man, but this seems like a good first step toward being a competent club, transfer-wise. However, the grains of sand in the transfer window hour glass are dwindling, which means Arsenal are looking at either compromising on quality or price the longer they wait. Rock, meet hard place. Stay tuned as we will update the situation as events unfold.