Arsenal have announced that Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson has joined Belgian team, OH Leuven on a season long loan, though there is a purchase option included in the loan deal.
Rúnarsson joined Arsenal last summer from FC Dijon for a £1.8m fee in the wake of Emiliano Martínez’s departure for Aston Villa. Rúnarsson was signed on the recommendation of Iñaki Caña Pavón, who coached the Iceland international at FC Nordsjaelland.
It’s fair to say that Rúnarsson’s time in North London has been a fairly mixed bag. Initially signed as the club’s third choice keeper, Rúnarsson never looked totally comfortable between the sticks for the club.
The transfer itself had always looked to be surprising one, considering that Rúnarsson was not even the second-choice goalkeeper at Dijon when Arsenal signed him and his presence in the side most certainly mimicked that of the third-choice goalkeeper for a relegated French team.
After a series of fairly uneventful Europa League performances, Rúnarsson was unfortunately brought into the spotlight following a disastrous performance in Arsenal’s 1-4 loss at home to Manchester City in the League Cup, where he fumbled a number of chances, even spilling a fairly innocuous free-kick into his own net.
Heading into what is expected ot be a busy summer for Arsenal and one that has already seen the likes of Mattéo Guendouzi leave the club, Rúnarsson was always expected to leave the club in some capacity, with a loan deal preferred.
Despite the transfer seemingly looking like a very poor investment by the club, it is a fairly low-risk potentially high-reward transfer. If Rúnarsson turned out to be the next Bernd Leno, then Arsenal would be guffawing over a £1.8m price tag and a job well-done. If Rúnarsson shows promise, but is unable to stake a claim in the team, then he can be sold for more than he was signed for or can be loaned out to gain some more experience.
It’s a shame to see things end so abruptly for Rúnarsson, however, the former Dijon shotstopper had fallen very far down the pecking order at Arsenal. Brighton & Hove Albion’s Maty Ryan was brought in on a six month loan deal to give Arsenal some serious cover options, while Rúnarsson was merely allowed in the team as and when Ryan was unavailable for selection.
Now that Rúnarsson has left, Arsenal are left with three goalkeepers at the club. Bernd Leno, Arthur Okonkwo and Aaron Ramsdale.