Good morning everyone. A quick Friday blog for you.
The main story this morning is that Aaron Ramsdale has written a new contract. It’s been discussed for a while, so it’s not a shocking announcement or anything, but the linkage of another key player is good news. Mikel Arteta says:
We are all very happy that Aaron has signed a new contract. The way Aaron has developed over the past two years has been exceptional, with his performances, contributions and overall adaptation to the club.
It’s great that we continue to build our future with our greatest talents in our young roster. We all look forward to enjoying many more years with Aaron as a player and person at the football club.
I thought it was quite interesting that topic #contents that accompanies the announcement was based on some reactions to his signing in the summer of 2021. There was skepticism, no doubt about that, and fears about the fee we might have to pay. I think it’s worth remembering that it was this summer when we brought in Ramsdale, Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Martin Odegaard that we changed people’s minds about what we do and to some extent who does it. There was a lot of doubt beforehand about a lot of things, and that probably had an impact on how our interest in Ramsdale was perceived.
Having just been relegated from Sheffield United having previously lost to Bournemouth, it was hard to understand what exactly the manager saw in him that made him worthy of the requested transfer fee. I think you can also say that it didn’t take long for it to become obvious. After a difficult start to the season for the whole team, Bernd Leno was out after three defeats – none of which could really be attributed to him – and a new man came in.
It quickly became clear that he was a good stopper, more dominant in his area than Leno, and could play with his feet. It wasn’t the same upgrade we saw when the German replaced Petr Cech, who looked like he was playing in rubber boots half the time, but it was another step forward. We also got to know and understand his personality, which is a bit crazy, but the old cliché about the best goalkeepers being a bit different has some truth to it.
It’s a bit unconventional at times. The way he publicly talks about the need to interact in matches with fans, often opponents, to help him concentrate when he needs it, is not something you often hear from goalkeepers. And look, he’s had some shaky moments this season, but it happens. He is human, mistakes happen, but I think he has shown that he can learn from them. I don’t think Mikel Arteta, a man who demands so much from his players, would agree to a new contract if he hadn’t seen it himself.
Above all, Ramsdale has been excellent for us this season. He has 13 clean sheets, no one has played more minutes for us than him, and there have been some extremely impressive saves along the way. The one with Konate in the Liverpool game is probably my favourite, the way he got there to deny them a late win was amazing. I also think his overall performance in the North London derby away from home was outstanding. It was one of those odd days where we were clearly the better team on any given day, but he had to make a number of important stops to prevent them from getting back into the game.
Such was the quality of his performance, Richarlison tried to fight him and one idiot fan attacked him from the stands then ran away like a little coward. It was so good that it drove Sp*rs people crazy and I think we have to congratulate him for that.
Speaking on the official website, Ramsdale not only changed people’s minds about him, he said:
It’s a huge pride, it’s something you work for. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been at the club for a month or four years, you always want to get the next one and push with the team.
To get it after two years, I’m buzzing. It just means I can concentrate and keep my head down and hopefully after a few more years I’ll get another one and be able to continue living my dream at a football club.
Clearly recruiting this summer is a priority for people, but securing the future of our top players is another key aspect of what we need to do. Ramsdale is now in the same bracket as Gabriel and Gabriel Martinelli as the work is done, it’s only a matter of time before Bukayo Saka is announced as that too is done and there are a few more I’d like to see. Ben White is one, William Saliba the other and most urgent for what he has left. Let’s hope this back injury isn’t a serious complication.
So congratulations to Aaron Ramsdale, who will stay here – and finally, it’s worth thinking about how his role next season will require even more. I’ve never really been interested in goalkeeper rotation and you’re playing your number one in the Champions League, so he’ll have to raise his game to that level too. But you would support him.
Right, that’s your lot for this morning. I’ll leave you with the brand new Arsecast chatting with Amy Lawrence about this season, what’s next, and much more. All the links you need to listen/subscribe are below. Enjoy the performance!