Sunday, November 27, 2022

Matt Turner signs + another Lisandro Martinez bid

Arsenal’s third signing of the summer was made official yesterday when Matt Turner’s move from New England Revolution was confirmed.

Speaking to the official site, Mikel Arteta said:

Matt is an experienced goalkeeper who will bring high quality to our squad. He has shown with his performances in recent years in both the MLS and at international level with the United States that he is a goalkeeper who will give us added strength going into next season. We welcome Matt and his family to the club and we look forward to working together in the years to come.

With all due respect to him, 28 year old back-up keeper isn’t quite as exciting as a striker or a winger, but it’s still an important role in the squad. Bernd Leno is expected to depart this summer, quite where yet we don’t know – and the rumours involving Fulham seem to have gone a bit quiet. So, while Matt Turner will start the season as deputy to Aaron Ramsdale, it only takes an injury for him to be thrust into the spotlight and given serious responsibility in this team.

When you come to the Premier League at his age from MLS, there is always going to be a measure of doubt as it’s a path not particularly well trodden. Still, having fought his way to this point, he seems like a guy who rises to a challenge, and you have to imagine that having dropped the ball somewhat over the signing of Alex Runarsson, we’ve done better due diligence on the USA international.

Interestingly, he’s already been in touch with Aaron Ramsdale, telling the official site:

Yeah he and I have been in contact. He checked in on me, make sure I’m settling in well. He seems like a great guy, I’m looking forward to not only getting to know him, but making him a better goalkeeper and to pushing him to be his best.

He’s also an Arsenal fan and remembers:

Obviously there’s some fun years with Olivier Giroud bagging goals, he was always fun to watch, my sister had a huge crush on him so it was pretty funny, he’s a handsome guy.

I will obviously wait to see how he does for us when he plays, but he’s already got a tick in the ‘This guy seems all right’ column for an out of left-field HFB reference. The fact that he is an Arsenal fan isn’t really relevant in the grand scheme of things, but what a dream it must be for him to arrive at this club at this moment in time when there appears to be something quite exciting going on.

Best of luck to him.

Elsewhere, as we wait for the next update on an exciting Brazilian, there’s talk of another bid for Ajax’s Lisandro Martinez. I have to say I find this one quite interesting, because I struggle with the idea of a 5’9 central defender in the Premier League. It’s not that it can’t happen, but it really is the exception rather than the rule, and most often that player is part of a back three rather than a central defensive pairing.

I suppose Gabriel is first choice in that position, and Martinez could provide some depth as and when required – going on the assumption that Pablo Mari will move on during this window. It’s also worth remembering that, as it stands with the current make-up of the squad, both William Saliba and Rob Holding are capable of playing in that position too, and Takehiro Tomiyasu plays there regularly for Japan. Whether both Holding and Saliba are still here when the season starts remains to be seen, I have a suspicion that one of them might depart, but even with that we’d have two options for that position without signing the Argentina international.

So, is it odd to think that maybe we’re after Martinez for another reason? He can play left-back, as well as central midfield, which might mean he’s back-up/competition for Kieran Tierney, and perhaps his versatility makes him a bit of a Swiss Army Knife option for Mikel Arteta. The talk around Youri Tielemans has gone very quiet, are we thinking of a different midfield configuration next season? We all saw the Belgian as the creative upgrade in the left 8 position occupied by Granit Xhaka in this current system, but what if there’s another plan involving someone already at the club?

Would the arrival of Raphinha allow Bukayo Saka to play in that position, for example? We’ve seen Emile Smith Rowe used there once or twice? And Fabio Vieira can play there even if he’s mostly been used towards the right in his career thus far. I don’t know, I’m really just speculating, but one of the most exciting things about this summer is considering how we are going to make this team less predictable next season. The attacking arrivals will help, of course, but a signing like this might unlock some pieces we previously thought unmovable, so let’s see what happens.

Right, that’s it for this morning. Have a good one, more tomorrow, and if you haven’t had a chance to listen already, there’s a brand new Arsecast Extra for you below.

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This Arsecast Extra was recorded with ipDTL

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