Sunday, December 10, 2023

Trusty’s been processed + Ramsdale’s brilliant article

Morning all.

Let’s start today with a bit of actual transfer news, and that’s the departure of Auston Trusty to Sheffield United. He joined us from Colorado Rapids for a reported fee of around £1m in January 2020, before going out on loan. He spent last season on loan with Birmingham City, winning their player of the year award, and now he’s got himself a nice move to a Premier League club.

I did notice some cribbing about the fee, reportedly in the region of £5m (and possibly some clauses) but in all honesty this feels about right to me. Realistically he’s not going to get ahead of Gabriel or Jakub Kiwior in the left centre-half position, not to mention the fact Takehiro Tomiyasu is another option there, and after a small expenditure we’ve made a few million in profit on a player who has never played in the Premier League. And for the player himself, he’s found a pathway to the biggest league in Europe so that KSE connection has worked for all parties. Good luck to him.

Meanwhile, Fabrizio Romano reports that Arsenal have made an opening bid for David Raya of around £20m.

As I’ve said previously, I’m not entirely convinced this is a signing we need to make, but I guess the manager has earned enough trust for us to go along with it. Does it suggest that something concrete, to use a summer buzzword, is happening with Matt Turner? He has been linked with Nottingham Forest, but I read yesterday that players and agents are taking legal action against the club due to unpaid bills. Maybe there’s nothing to the story, and we know that above all else Forest enjoy signing players, but it might give you pause for thought. Will they pay their bills?

Right now there are five keepers on Arsenal’s books and Raya would make it six. What is the collective noun for goalkeepers? Whatever it is, we’ve got a load of them. I can imagine Edu taking them out for a picnic, then leaving Alex Runarsson in the woods and driving off.

Speaking of goalkeepers, I’m sure you’ve read Aaron Ramsdale’s brilliant piece in The Player’s Tribune by now, but if not, here’s the link – get on it asap. There are plenty of takeaways from it, but if we do sign Raya, you can be quite sure that there will an almighty scrap for the number 1 shirt at this club. Nothing has come easy for Ramsdale in his career, and you just know that he will view this as another challenge he has to overcome. Reading it did make me think that perhaps it’s something Arteta is doing to push him as hard as he can to become the best goalkeeper he can be. Maybe that’s naive in some ways, but it also makes some sense in the context of what we’re doing.

Ramsdale’s story about playing in a North London derby just days after his wife suffered a miscarriage is another reminder that as we judge players and their performances, our knowledge of them is essentially superficial. And look, it’s part and parcel of sport, but on that day he played incredibly well in a game we deserved to win, but did so in no small part because of the saves he made. Then Richarlison got in his face, and some idiot Spurs fan kicked him in the back.

As we got wrapped up in the emotion of a derby, and understandably so, it’s hard to imagine what he was going through. The grief of his and his partner’s loss; the professional high from his performance and that result; the confusion and shock that he was assaulted while doing his job; all that and more swirling around. There’s a lot going on there while we all got on the beers.

What I really loved about this piece though was when he spoke about his brother, who is gay. There is still such a stigma around homosexuality in the men’s game, and in recent weeks we’ve seen very vocal allies turn their back on their principles for enormous sums of cash they don’t need.

Aaron’s message at the end is perfect:

For me, I obviously dream about winning the league and parading the trophy through North London, for sure. World Cup. Champions League. I’ve got all those dreams, but those are all football dreams.

As a person, I have another dream.

I want this game I love to be a safe and welcoming place for everyone. I want my brother, Ollie — or anyone of any sexuality, race or religion — to come to games without having to fear abuse.

As someone with family and friends in the gay community, I think that’s such an important message for a Premier League footballer to send right now. Why should anyone be discriminated against because of who they love? Or for the colour of their skin? Or their religious beliefs? I find it hard to understand that in 2023, these barriers still need to be broken down to the extent that they do.

I think Arsenal Football Club has, over the years, done more than most to foster an environment that is inclusive, welcoming, and supportive on all those counts, and it’s great to see one of our top players back that up so publicly. We are a wonderfully diverse fanbase that circles the globe, and Arsenal is, and should be, for everyone. It would have been easy for Aaron Ramsdale to stay quiet, but he didn’t, and I have so much respect for that.

Ok, that’s it for this morning. We recorded the Arsecast yesterday, you can listen below. Because of a time change in Mikel Arteta’s Community Shield press conference, the preview podcast on Patreon won’t be out until tomorrow morning, so join us for that.

For now, have a good one.


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