Arsenal completed the loan signing of David Raya from Brentford, and there has been a lot of talk about why Mikel Arteta has added another top goalkeeper to his side. Nottingham Forest completed the signing of Arsenal’s second senior keeper, Matt Turner, meaning David Raya comes in to directly replace him, and possibly even Aaron Ramsdale.
This news came out of nowhere and no one it wasn’t expected to see Arsenal linked with a goalkeeper this transfer window, considering Aaron Ramsdale has signed a new long-term contract at the club and Matt Turner has stepped up when needed for the side. So that raises the question of what is Mikel Arteta’s plan when it comes to bringing in another top keeper to the club. He could be coming in to replace Ramsdale, or to just provide more of a backup option alongside competition for the position.
When Aaron Ramsdale joined the club, many saw him as a backup to Bernd Leno, however, he quickly became number one, so questions are being asked if this is going to be a repeat with David Raya and Ramsdale. Raya is a top-class goalkeeper and with interest from other clubs like Bayern Munich why would he choose to be a backup at Arsenal over other clubs?
Aaron Ramsdale at Arsenal so far
When first signing for the club, fans were disappointed with the announcement of Ramsdale and were not expecting a lot from him, however, as time went on he has proven himself to be a top keeper and is a fan favourite, for both his ability and his character.
Last season he was a consistent performer in a side challenging for the Premier League and made some vital saves that could’ve seen some totally different results for Arsenal throughout the campaign.
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 14, 2023
He has had some shaky moments playing for the Gunners, conceding cheap goals, and not putting a hand to shots that he should be, however as a young goalkeeper in one of the best leagues in the world it is going to happen. Some people are very quick to disrespect Ramsdale’s abilities when he makes a mistake, forgetting his consistency since he first put on the shirt.
David Raya is a top goalkeeper
Raya has been amazing for Brentford since joining and is in conversations with the likes of Ederson and Onana when he is in possession of the ball. With an average of 45 touches per 90 minutes, it proves he is comfortable when it comes to being a part of the buildup play. He is also renowned for his distribution of the ball, something that is deadly on the counter-attack. He has a save percentage of 77.7% which puts him in the 92nd percentile, which is really impressive.
David Raya is a modern-day keeper who would suit Arsenal’s style of play, with his distribution and ability to play out the back, he will provide a lot of competition to the current number one.
Ramsdale versus Raya
Comparing the two, they are both great players in their position, fans should be happy they have both players at the club. Stats are not always the best way to judge players, due to different tactics, teammates, and situations. Brentford is a team with a different quality of defence to Arsenal, so there’s a reason he would have more saves than Ramsdale.
Aaron Ramsdale 🆚 David Raya… Who would be Arsenal's #️⃣1️⃣? 🧤 pic.twitter.com/CPdfN3bVx9
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 31, 2023
If you had to put them apart, David Raya is better at distribution, and dealing with high balls. Aaron Ramsdale, a fair distributor as well, is a better shot-stopper, dealing with one-on-ones and goes up a level on away days.
Having the presence of the Spaniard will push Ramsdale to be at the top of his game, something that is needed when playing for a club like Arsenal. It currently seems like Ramsdale will be the number one for the foreseeable future, with Raya contributing in cup games, however, Arteta can be unpredictable. We can only wait and see what happens as time goes on.
Mikel Arteta’s plan to add depth to the squad
Since being appointed manager of the side, Arteta has slowly improved squad depth with the signings of Declan Rice, Jurriën Timber, and Kai Havertz. Having a big, competent squad allows Mikel Arteta to also use different players for specific tactical situations, which will be beneficial throughout the season. To compete with the top sides, depth is essential. Having competition in positions for a spot in the starting lineup ensures the players are performing at their best ability. To add, when injuries come into play, a player of a similar level of quality can walk into the side and you won’t see a dramatic drop-off.
Alongside this, rotation for different competitions to allow players to rest is something that allows a side to juggle multiple competitions, as we saw Manchester City do last season. It’s important that it is being introduced in the Arsenal squad, as it’s something that has lacked in the squad for years, and cost them previously. Not having a good backup to Saliba hugely cost them in the last campaign.
Fabrizio Romano stated, “As for Aaron Ramsdale, my understanding is that the idea would be to create competition between Ramsdale & Raya – it’s not a case of replacing the England goalkeeper.”
Matt Turner is a good player, however, the difference between him and Ramsdale is huge, especially in their playstyle, distribution, and ability to play out the back. To add, he only made seven appearances for Arsenal (5 Europa League and 2 FA Cup). If Ramsdale was to get injured, would he be a player to be able to step up and keep the same quality needed? Introducing a player like David Raya guarantees that there won’t be a significant drop-off in quality between the players, as both players can play in the Arsenal system with ease.