Mikel Arteta fires warnings to two Arsenal players amid guarantee refusal
Mikel Arteta has warned Aaron Ramsdale the keeper’s jersey is up for grabs after Arsenal signed David Raya.
Arteta insists there are no guarantees for any position in the squad and keepers are no different. Former Premier League greats Shay Given and Peter Schmeichel have both said the keeper’s place should be different and it is better to have an established first choice.
But Arteta says Raya’s arrival from Brentford will increase the competition but is also vital to have two top quality keepers in case of injuries, especially after Jurrien Timber was ruled out for the long term with a cruciate knee ligament injury.
When asked whether Arsenal now had a first choice, Arteta said: “No. In any position no. Nine, six, goalkeeper, no. There isn’t. We want two players per position that can do that. You saw, what happened to Jurrien can happen to our goalkeeper, it happened to Thibaut Courtois.
“We need to be prepared because the question is ‘why do you have two goalkeepers of this size’ but If Aaron were to sustain a cruciate, then what would you say? You would change your question. So we have to be prepared, we have to be proactive.
“We have two excellent goalkeepers now and they give us exactly what we want in our model so I’m very happy with that. To have two excellent goalkeepers is great. Nothing is wrong. We have two great left wingers, two great strikers and three great holding midfielders with Jorginho, Thomas (Partey) and Declan (Rice)
“That is not a problem and it should not be a problem. We want to be better and to be better the environment has to change.”
England international Ramsdale – who signed a new five year deal last May knowing Arsenal were still interested in Raya – is likely to keep his place in the short term, starting against Crystal Palace on Monday. But there is no doubt that Raya looks favourite to take over the position through the season just as Ramsdale did from Bernd Leno two years ago.
Arteta has also admitted it is a “huge blow” to lose Timber for a sustained period while the club have also stressed that the defender did undergo full tests at half-time against Nottingham Forest, did no further damage by playing on and will now undergo surgery.
But Timber’s absence is unlikely to stop Kieran Tierney leaving – with Real Sociedad keen – while West Ham and Forest have both shown interest in Nuno Tavares. Forest are hoping to do a £30m deal. Arteta also appeared to rule out Gabriel leaving before the end of the window despite interest in the left-sided centre half from Saudi Arabia.
Arteta added: “To have the injury Jurrien has is a huge blow. It is for the team because we recruited him with clear intentions and what he was bringing to the team was evident and he’s not going to be able to do it this season for us.”
Then when asked specifically on Gabriel and the chances of him now leaving, Arteta said: “There are not any plans in doing anything like that.”