Aaron Ramsdale is Arsenal’s starting keeper (for now). The Daily Mail reports that the Gunners £30M summer signing, who started in the 1-0 win over Norwich City at the weekend, is expected to retain the #1 keeper role. Ramsdale was expected to compete with Bernd Leno for the spot, and it appears that at the very least, round one of that bout goes to the young Englishman.
At the highest level, the decision makes sense. You don’t spend £30M on a keeper for him to sit on the bench. You also don’t stick your keeper of the future behind a guy who isn’t going to be at the club in two years. Bernd Leno has made it clear that he would like to return to Germany to finish his career and at 29 years old with his contract expiring in 2023...you can connect the dots.
The decision also makes sense for this weekend’s match against Burnley. The Clarets hoofed in cross after cross against Everton, as they have done for time immemorial, and will try to do the same against the Gunners. Aaron Ramsdale is quite good at claiming crosses and controlling the area in the air. Bernd Leno is not.
Ramsdale’s distribution is slightly better than Leno’s, which is important for the way Mikel Arteta want to play. I also defy you to tell me that Bernd Leno would successfully pull off something like this:
Don’t get me wrong: Bernd Leno is a good goalkeeper. He’s a better out-and-out shot-stopper than Aaron Ramsdale. He doesn’t seem to have the low-confidence form-swings that Ramsdale supposedly can have. To be fair, we haven’t seen the swings from Ramsdale at Arsenal, we’ve just heard about them from Sheffield United fans. I think there is another chapter or two in the Bernd Leno strong performances at Arsenal story.
But Leno isn’t the future between the posts for Arsenal. Hopefully, Edu can sell him this summer for a half-decent fee, but I’m not sure how much they’ll be able to get for him given his expiring contract and clear desire to leave the club.
Aaron Ramsdale is the future, and that future is now. Or at least until he puts in a stinker and we all have to talk about who the #1 keeper at Arsenal should be.