Arsenal have reportedly emerged as the favorites to sign Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale this summer. According to the Times, the Gunners have already had two bids for the English shot-stopper rejected, and are preparing a fresh offer of around 32 million pounds.
Ramsdale, a product of Sheffield United’s academy, re-joined the Blades from Bournemouth last year. He was one of Sheffield’s bright spots in an otherwise dismal 2020-21 campaign that culminated in their relegation from the top-flight.
Aaron Ramsdale has made 44 appearances for Sheffield in all competitions, keeping seven clean sheets.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are looking to add a new goalkeeper to their ranks amid uncertainty over Bernd Leno’s future. The German, who has served as Arsenal’s No. 1 over the past couple of seasons, is reportedly pushing for a move away from the Emirates.
The north London club were also linked with moves for Ajax’s Andre Onana and West Brom’s Sam Johnstone but have now made Ramsdale their top priority. The England U-21 international has three years left on his current contract.
Is Aaron Ramsdale worth the fuss?
Arsenal do not currently have a capable backup to Bernd Leno. The Gunners surprisingly let Emi Martinez join Aston Villa last summer and the Argentine has gone from strength to strength since leaving the club.
Alex Runarsson is not Premier League caliber, while 19-year-old Arthur Okonkwo made loads of errors in pre-season and is unlikely to receive Arteta’s stamp of approval.
Thus, Arsenal need a goalkeeper capable of challenging Leno for the No. 1 spot, and possibly even taking over if the German does indeed leave the club.
Aaron Ramsdale has suffered back-to-back relegations with Bournemouth and Sheffield United, but the fact that he was named Player of the Year for both clubs speaks volumes of his abilities.
The 23-year-old is a good, athletic shot-stopper. He has a great command of his box and is quick at coming out to claim crosses and closing down attackers. He is also comfortable playing out from the back, having developed that aspect of his game during his time with the Cherries.
At 23, he’s still young and has plenty of room to grow. A move to Arsenal would undoubtedly be a huge step up for Ramsdale, but it could serve to unlock his potential. 32 million pounds is definitely on the high side for a still unproven goalkeeper, but given his upside and the fact that he’s homegrown, Arsenal are unlikely to be put off by the price tag.
Arsenal have already signed Albert Sambi Lokonga and Ben White in the transfer window and are looking to strengthen other areas of the squad ahead of a desired top-four push. The Gunners have also been linked with Ramsdale’s Sheffield United teammate Sander Berge.