Emiliano Martínez has been sold to Aston Villa – who will replace him?
The Argentine left the Arsenal after more than ten years, bringing in a figure initially set at 16 million pounds, which could become 20 millions depending on add-ons and bonuses.
What is the plan to replace him?
For a team that already has Matt Macey, Dejan Iliev, Karl Hein, Arthur Okonkwo, James Hillson and Tom Smith in the squad, the role of back-up goalkeeper should not be a big concern, however we are about to formalize a deal worth £ 2 million for Icelandic goalkeeper Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson, Alfred Gomis’ reserve at Dijon, and we are working hard on the signing of Brentford’s David Raya, valued at around £15 million.
The negotiations for the Spaniard seems complicated, with Brentford insisting that the goalkeeper, once sold, is immediately loaned back, a bit like what happened with William Saliba and Saint-Étienne.It therefore seems that Rúnar Rúnarsson and David Raya are not competing for the place vacated by Emi but are both strongly wanted by Mikel Arteta and the Club, instead, which leaves me puzzled.
Both 25-year-olds and therefore no longer promising youngsters, the Icelandic and the Spaniard will aim to oust Bernd Leno from the starting role, as did Emiliano Martínez, with the difference that they will have to fight each other for the deputy role, first.An unusual situation, since in general Clubs have two goalkeepers with a substantial age difference between them, plus a third very young or very experienced, while we would end up with three peers, of which two are new signings.
Furthermore, we would find ourselves spending almost all the funds generated from the sale of Emiliano Martínez, which would have been better spent to reinforce the midfield, in my opinion.
Again, I ask myself: what is the plan?
I tried to go a little deeper and thought that maybe Rúnar Rúnarsson has been bought to replace Matt Macey, destined to leave the club, and that he will be the back-up goalkeeper only for this season, while we are waiting for the arrival of David Raya: why then give him a five-years contract?
However limited the price and the wages of the Icelandic are, we still end up with a long contract on the books and a player who would never play, despite being in his prime.It is difficult to imagine that we will be able to resell him at a higher price than what we paid to Dijon and, even if we did that, it would still be a fee that will not improve our spending power at all. Another downside to having a relatively young third goalkeeper would be the fact that this would shut the door for the Academy’s young goalkeepers, including the up-and-coming Karl Hein and Arthur Okonkwo, thus nullifying the work done to develop and coach these youngsters.
Assuming this is the plan, the Icelandic would end up as the third goalkeeper and play in the Carabao Cup only, with Bernd Leno and David Raya fighting for the starting berth between the Premier League, the Europa League and the FA Cup; even considering that Mikel Arteta wants to take a step back and have a league goalkeeper and a cup goalkeeper, which he did not do when we faced Olympiakos last season, we would end up with a goalkeeper paid 15 million (Raya) or even 19 million ( Leno) only playing a handful of games a year – a waste.
… what if the plan was to replace Bernd Leno, instead?
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.