David Raya was signed on loan from Brentford in the summer transfer window (with an eye to make it permanent next summer) and since then, there have been many debates on the goalkeeping situation at Arsenal.
Mikel Arteta has said that he wants two top quality goalkeepers, in keeping with trying to create a squad that have two strong options in every position on the pitch. And he’s also said that he’ll deal with having two top goalkeepers by rotating them. But it’s clear even now, at this early stage, that David Raya is now Arsenal’s Number 1.
The fact is, even from my untrained eye, David Raya has clearly added another dimension to this Arsenal side. Aaron Ramsdale is good with his feet, but David Raya is just far better – he is so reassured and the passing between him, the defence and even the midfield is obvious – his short and long passing is generally spot on, and he’s so calm with the ball at his feet.
With Ramsdale, there’s always a feeling he might give the ball away or make a mistake with the ball at his feet.
And the statistics back this up. This excellent video from Tifo Football IRL explains exactly why and how David Raya is a significant upgrade on Aaron Ramsdale.
One problem for Arsenal fans, and myself included when Raya first signed, is that Aaron Ramsdale is an excellent goalkeeper. I don’t think anyone can argue about that.
I don’t think many people would argue that he shouldn’t be England’s Number 1 as well, ahead of Jordan Pickford.
Ramsdale make some truly outstanding saves last season (and also the season before). There have been countless times where he’s made some really unbelievable saves which have caught the eye of fans and experts alike.
But the biggest problem I think with all this is that we’ve seen the evolution and growth of one of the most likeable players at the club in Aaron Ramsdale. He is known for his, let’s say, “spiky” nature on the pitch. And we Arsenal fans love it. But most importantly, he has come into the club at a young age (he’s still young now obviously) but we’ve seen him develop into one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.
We’ve seen him develop, mature and help this young Arsenal side almost win the Premier League. His improvement has been amazing and the problem for most Arsenal fans is that he will keep improving, given the trajectory he’s on.
But the bottom line is Mikel Arteta has seen an upgrade in David Raya who, he feels, can take Arsenal to the next level now. We’ve seen the Arsenal be ruthless in the past, including when he brought Aaron Ramsdale to the club and Bernd Leno ended up leaving. And we all know about what happened to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
But how do you think this situation is going to affect Arsenal this season? And who do you think will end up being Arsenal’s Number 1 goalkeeper? Can Aaron Ramsdale work his way back into the team?