Sunday, July 21, 2024

Raya signs + Arteta on transfers and his own contract

Morning.

So, we made our first official signing of the summer yesterday, as David Raya joined on a permanent basis after spending last season on loan from Brentford. The fee is around £27m, and his contract will run for four years – until 2028, at which point he’ll be 32, still relatively young in the life of a goalkeeper.

Then again, he does have to keep on the right side of a manager who does love a goalkeeper signing.

Speaking to the official site, the boss said:

David showed us last season what an important player he is for us, so we are delighted he is now officially our player. He is a big presence in our dressing room and we are really pleased to keep working with him.

We know he will take the strong foundations he put in place last season and build on them in the years to come, and that he will enjoy more success with us. We have a very talented group of goalkeepers and I love to see connections like the one I see in our goalkeeping unit.

It was clear pretty quickly last season that Raya was brought in to be the number 1, despite Arteta’s uncharacteristically clumsy comments about ‘timeshare goalkeepers’, and although he had some wobbles here and there (mostly at the start), he played a big part in our season, so let’s hope there’s even more to come over the coming years.

And while this deal is not a surprise at all, it does bring into the spotlight the Aaron Ramsdale situation. He’s away with England, of course, but he won’t want to spend another season on the bench, so it’ll be fascinating to see what happens with him. Some will say Arsenal are in a strong position because he has a long-term contract, but the deal he signed last May also made him one of the best paid keepers in the Premier League, so that’s an issue when it comes to finding a new club. How many clubs can afford those wages? Not too many, so it might be a case he goes on loan with the hope that a good season wherever he plays generates a bit more interest than there is right now.

The other question is how many clubs are in the market for a top-level keeper this summer? There might need to be a few pieces moving here and there before the right move comes long, so we’ll wait and see how that one plays out.

Meanwhile, Arteta did a very interesting interview with James Olley of ESPN from the Marbella training camp, and was asked about his contract. He has less than a year left, but sounded a positive note, saying:

Things happen in a natural way and our relationship is that good that I don’t predict any issues happening. But things have to develop in the right way and it will happen. The focus now is, ‘OK, how we can improve things around the team, how we can improve now the things in the transfer window that we have.’ We have time to sit down and discuss that.

And on the plans for the transfer window, he was as opaque as you might imagine, short on specifics, but made it clear he wants to improve the squad:

We are looking to improve in every possible department. With the new regulations, there are certain things we have to respect and be conscious of and then obviously the Euros and Copa America are slowing everything down. Hopefully now it is going to pick up a little bit.

There are things that we have to improve, that’s for sure and we are going to try to. But the market is tricky. We have been very aggressive, we are very determined and we have a clear idea obviously of what we want to do. It will come down to finding the right agreements at the right time.

A tournament summer is always more difficult than others, and I do sense a little anxiety among Arsenal fans – perhaps tied to the fact that a player we targetted (Sekso) decided against making a move. However, I think the way we’ve done our business over the last few summers, both in terms of quality of player and timing (for the most part), should reassure people that we’ll be able to do the deals we want. Who? When? Your guess is as good as mine, but with someone like Arteta, you can imagine how hard he’s pushing behind the scenes for the optimal outcome, so let’s wait and see.

Right, I’ll leave it there for now. There’s a new Arsecast for you to listen to below, chatting about Riccardo Calafiori and lots more with Phil Costa. Enjoy.

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