Brentford goalkeeper David Raya has been linked with a move to Arsenal in recent days for a reported £40 million.
It’s a surprising story for a multitude of reasons. For one thing, Arsenal already have five goalkeepers in their squad.
Number 1 Aaron Ramsdale signed a new contract towards the end of last season and appears to have the faith of Mikel Arteta.
However, Arsenal have a long-standing interest in David Raya dating back to 2020.
In fact, Aaron Ramsdale was signed after it became apparent a deal for David Raya wouldn’t happen. With Raya suddenly available, perhaps this is an opportunistic move from Arsenal.
Raya epitomises the passing out from the back which Arteta prizes in goalkeepers. Ramsdale is good at it, but not as good as the Spaniard. Arteta is known to be ruthless. Even so, axing Ramsdale would be incredibly ruthless.
He’s a big character and beloved by the players, although certain elements of the fanbase have doubts about him.
There is a certain symmetry to this story in that nobody understood why Arsenal wanted Ramsdale either. At the time, Bernd Leno was firmly in control of the No.1 Jersey.
Ramsdale took over from Leno and contributed to the transformation in Arsenal’s playing style with his long passing. Leno left the club for Fulham a year later.
Is the plan for Raya and Ramsdale to compete, to share games? It’s hard to imagine either player being happy with that situation.
Raya was supposed to be at Tottenham or Bayern Munich by now. Brentford have already signed his replacement in Mark Flekken from Freiburg. As a result, their asking price of £40 million feels a bit optimistic.
With personal terms reportedly agreed with Raya, this isn’t a nonsense link. It remains to be seen if Arsenal, who surely must sell before they can buy again following over £200 million spent so far this summer, will agree a price.