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Arsenal 2023-24 Premier League Preview: goalkeepers

Aaron Ramsdale and David Raya will battle it out for the starting spot.

Arsenal Photocall Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Up until this week, Arsenal’s goalkeeper depth chart was set in stone. Aaron Ramsdale was the starter, Matt Turner his clear backup, and Karl Hein the third stringer. What a difference a few days can make. Matt Turner was sold to Nottingham Forest in a deal that could be worth up to £10M. More importantly, David Raya was signed on loan for £3M with an option to buy for an additional £27M in the summer.

Aaron Ramsdale will open the season as the number one, but once David Raya settles in at the club, he will compete for the starting spot. The addition of Raya gives Arsenal a 1A-1B goalkeeping tandem as opposed to a starter-backup setup as they had with Turner. Both Ramsdale and Raya were among the top keepers in the Premier League last season, and the competition between the two will hopefully push both to improve.

I’ve consistently said that right now, David Raya is a little bit better than Aaron Ramsdale. Raya is a better shot-stopper, coming off the best season of his career in that category. He’s elite with the ball at his feet, compared to a “very good” Ramsdale. Ramsdale is 6’2 to Raya’s 6’0. Ramsdale’s height and athleticism advantage enables him to make more spectacular saves that the shorter Raya cannot get to. Ramsdale is slightly more mistake-prone — he made a handful of blunders / conceded bad goals last season.

I think that Aaron Ramsdale (24) has the potential to end up a better goalkeeper than David Raya (27) in the medium- to long-term. Put simply, Ramsdale’s future ceiling is higher but his current floor is lower. David Raya is a “safer” option.

Mikel Arteta really can’t go wrong picking between the pair, which is an excellent problem to have. It’s going to take a poor performance and a bad result for Aaron Ramsdale to lose the starting job in the Premier League, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see David Raya get the nod in the Champions League group stage from the off.

Karl Hein is a fine third goalkeeper. With David Raya in the fold, Hein probably won’t get any minutes for Arsenal this season.

Alex Runarsson is still with the club as well, but he’ll be loaned or sold, and / or allowed to leave on a free transfer when his contract expires after this season. Arthur Okonkwo, who kept 10 clean sheets with fourth tier Crewe Alexandra last fall before being recalled and re-loaned to Sturm Graz in the Austrian first tier where kept a clean sheet in the OFB Cup final, will either be loaned or sold before the close of the window.