Premier League • England

Why Arsenal’s David Raya deal could spell trouble for Aaron Ramsdale

David Raya in Premier League action for Brentford against Norwich at Carrow Road

David Raya in Premier League action for Brentford against Norwich at Carrow Road

Arsenal’s signing of David Raya on loan from Brentford could spell trouble for first-choice goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale according to Charles Watts.

The Gunners plan to pay around £30million to make Raya a permanent transfer next summer and, with two No.1s on their books, the situation might not stay tenable for long. 

“For him to decide to make this move now to Arsenal with Aaron Ramsdale there, I’d be very surprised if he hasn’t been given some sort of assurances that he’s going to have a very good chance of becoming No.1 very soon,” says Watts. 

“If I was Aaron Ramsdale, you’d have to be worried about this. He has just signed a new long-term contract, firmly established as No.1 goalkeeper and then suddenly Arsenal are bringing in another No.1 who is very good friends with the goalkeeping coach at Arsenal. 

It’s tough to come to the conclusion that it’s not a worrying development for Ramsdale. But Aaron has got amazing character, an amazing personality, and he will absolutely step up to the challenge and fight to maintain it. 

“He does have the shirt at the moment so he’s in pole position. And if he continues to perform well and doesn’t give Mikel or the coaching staff any reason to take that shirt away from him, then it’s going to be difficult for Raya. 

“Ultimately, for Arsenal it is fantastic. You’ve got two brilliant goalkeepers, two out-and-out first-choice Premier League goalkeepers competing in the squad. But I think past history suggests that two No.1s never usually lasts, someone always tends to get unhappy and tends to leave.”


Raya has been a long-term transfer target for Arsenal with an established relationship with the north London side’s goalkeeping coach Iñaki Caña.

“Arsenal have always liked David Raya, he’s a player they were in for before they signed Aaron Ramsdale,” says Watts.

“Raya was the No.1 choice, but he was unavailable. They couldn’t get it done with Brentford and they moved on to other targets and ended up bringing Ramsdale in but that interest in Raya has never gone away. 

“Iñaki Caña is goalkeeping coach at Arsenal, who was with Raya at Brentford. They’re very close.”


Nottingham Forest’s move for Arsenal reserve Matt Turner meant a replacement back-up goalkeeper was required by Mikel Arteta with both player and club deciding that the United States’ No.1 needed to move on.

“This is an opportunity that presented itself because of Matt Turner’s desire to move on and try to become an established first choice elsewhere,” says Watts. 

“Arsenal’s initial plan was probably for Turner to stay for another season, and then take a look at things next summer. He got a very good opportunity with Nottingham Forest to play in the Premier League. He needs to play to keep his place as the USA number one, and he wasn’t going to get that at Arsenal. 

“And so he felt this was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down. When the offer came in and Arsenal spoke about it as a club and with Turner, it was decided they would let him go. They’ve made a quick profit on Turner and that obviously meant they needed to sign a goalkeeper.”


Raya is expected to sign a new deal with Brentford before heading out on loan ahead of a permanent move to the Emirates Stadium next summer. His previous Bees deal was due to expire in 2024. 

“They’ve been able to come up with a deal that suits them and suits Brentford in a way,” says Watts. “It’s going to be a loan but with the option of turning it permanent in the summer. 

“It’s going to help Arsenal in terms of spreading the cost of that over the next season, rather than this season when they’ve already spent a lot of money. 

“They’re about to sign an exceptional goalkeeper who fits the style perfectly of what Mikel Arteta wants in his goalkeeper – far more so than Matt Turner does. 

“David Raya is a very good goalkeeper who could have waited until next season and then had his pick of clubs in England and across Europe where he would have been number one.”