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Matt Turner to Arsenal: “pretty strong” chance

Says Bruce Arena, and he might know a thing or two about the New England Revolution

SOCCER: NOV 30 MLS Cup Playoffs - New York City FC at New England Revolution Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It looks like Matt Turner is soon to be signed by Arsenal. New England Revolution coach and sporting director Bruce Arena said the likelihood of an Arsenal transfer for the U.S. Men’s National Team keeper was “pretty strong” on his weekly radio call-in. According to Taylor Twellman, the move is all but signed now but Turner won’t cross the pond until the summer. Per Fabrizio Romano and others, the deal is expected to be in the €7M neighborhood with an additional €3M in add-ons.

Turner started 13 of the 22 USMNT matches in 2021, the most of any keeper. He also backstopped the NE Revs to the best record in the MLS regular season. He’s a very good shot-stopper but can struggle with distribution.

With Mikel Arteta wanting his sides to build from the back, signing a backup keeper whose passing isn’t great is a bit of a head-scratcher. But I’m going to trust the decisionmakers in North London. They made the right moves in the summer, including buying Aaron Ramsdale, so they might know a thing or two about keepers. I see two potential explanations: 1) the club has internal metrics that rate Turner highly and / or 2) for a backup keeper, they’re prioritizing the ability to keep the ball out of the Arsenal net (you know, a keeper’s primary job), even at the cost of ball progression.

A move for Turner would likely happen in tandem with a Bernd Leno loan / sale. So if Turner isn’t coming until the summer, I doubt Leno moves this window. The German keeper is understandably unhappy with losing his starting spot to Aaron Ramsdale and that’s after already being open to a move away from North London. Leno has said in the past that he’d like to finish his career back in Germany.

Turner would become the fifth American to sign for the Arsenal men and wouldn’t have a tough route to becoming the most decorated. The others are Gedion Zelalem (4 senior appearances), Danny Karbassiyoung (3 appearances, 1 goal, the only to ever score), Frank Simer (1 senior appearance), and Doug Farquhar (0 senior appearances, became first to ever sign at Arsenal in 1944). Heather O’Reilly and Tobin Heath have both played for the women’s side.