Arsenal have announced the signing of Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale in a deal believed to be worth £24m, which will rise to £30m with incentives, though these incentives are not likely to kick in for a while. Ramsdale signs for the club on a four-year contract, with the option for a fifth. Ramsdale will wear the number 32 shirt. He has also been registered in time to be in the squad for Arsenal’s game against Chelsea on Sunday.
Ramsdale’s signing is perhaps a surprising one for Arsenal fans. The club had been heavily linked with Ajax goalkeeper André Onana, however, after the Cameroonian’s doping ban was only shortened to November, Arsenal sought their fortunes elsewhere.
It has long been reported that Arsenal were particularly insistent on signing a homegrown goalkeeper, with Newcastle’s Freddie Woodman and West Bromwich Albion’s Sam Johnstone also under consideration.
Ramsdale was recommend to the Arsenal scouting team by goalkeeping coach Iñaki Caña Pavón, who previously recommended the signing of Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson from FC Dijon last season.
Another twist in the tale seems to be that Technical Director Edu has successfully managed to call Sheffield United’s bluff. Arsenal walked away from an initial deal when Sheffiled United demanded too much money, however, Edu seems to have brought the price down somewhat.
A deal for Barcelona’s Brazilian goalkeeper Neto had also been mooted and is believed to have been the catalyst for Sheffield United lowering their original demands, with the player himself even handing in a transfer request in order to expedite the move.
Ramsdale’s career as a player is not perhaps as thrilling as other players the club have looked at and the fact that the player has been relegated no fewer than three times, though, it should be pointed out that Ramsdale’s performances were not the reason for this.
After spending time in the Bolton Wanderers academy, Ramsdale soon joined up with Sheffield United, where he only made 2 FA Cup appearances for the team, before joining Bournemouth for £800,000.
At Bournemouth, Ramsdale was loaned out twice, to Chesterfield and then to AFC Wimbledon, where he won the club’s Young Player of the Season award.
From there, Ramsdale became a more permanent fixture of the Bournemouth team, winning the Player of the Month award for October in 2019.
Ramsdale’s performances were hugely exciting for other Premier League clubs as Bournemouth were relegated and last year he made the switch back to Sheffield United for £18.5m, winning the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards respectively.
The signing is perhaps not quite the signing that Arsenal fans had hoped for, however, given the growing regulations over visas in the wake of Brexit and the club’s need for a homegrown goalkeeper, Ramsdale represents the genuine article for Mikel Arteta and his team.
Another key win in Ramsdale’s favour, other than his visa status, is the ability that Ramsdale has to distribute with both his hands and his feet. The Arsenal backroom staff have also been concerned with Bernd Leno’s seeming reluctance to come off his line for crosses, something that Ramsdale is a past-master at.
The new signing will likely fall in as potential back-up for Leno in the mean time, however, as Leno’s contract runs out in 2023 and the club reluctant to extend his stay further, Ramsdale will be seen as the man to take over when Leno is done.