Premier League • England

Major Arsenal problem brewing as wantaway star vows ‘never again’, but huge price tag wrecks exit

Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale

Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale

Aaron Ramsdale has sent a clear message to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, saying he never wants another season where he’s a benchwarmer again – but his reported price tag may keep him there.

Things were looking rosy for the England international when he swapped Sheffield United for Arsenal in a deal worth up to £30m in 2021.

The 6ft 2in player was a regular in the Gunners’ starting XI, racking up 37 appearances in his first season and 41 in his second as the north London team gradually improved.

But things have gone badly wrong for the former Bournemouth stopper since the arrival of David Raya on loan from Brentford last August.

The Spaniard, who signed on a £3m loan fee with a view to a permanent £27m transfer, made his Arsenal debut in mid-September last year and since then Ramsdale has barely had a look in.

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The 26-year-old – whose contract at the Emirates runs until 2026, with the option of a further year – made just 11 appearances in all competitions and the vast majority of those came right at the start of the season.

But his dropping was, arguably, not unjustified. His save percentage had dropped from 73.4 in the 2021/22 campaign to 70.6 the following season.

Raya’s, on the other hand, was 77.7% for both those seasons at Brentford and even though he made some errors for the Gunners this term, his 68.1% is superior to Ramsdale’s 64.3%.

The latter’s lack of game time has led to links with Newcastle United, Chelsea, and Wolves and ahead of the 2024/25 campaign, Ramsdale’s future is very much up in the air.

Now, the Three Lions keeper, who is currently in Germany on England duty for Euro 2024, has spoken about how he doesn’t plan on repeating the campaign he just had.

‘Never want to do that again’

He told talkSPORT: “No footballer wants to not play. I’ve had a tough year personally not playing and I never want to do that again. It was tough, it was tough.

“But I have my release now, I’m now here [at the Euros], I’ve got the greatest honour, the greatest badge on my chest, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I play a minute or no minutes, it will be the pinnacle for me, the best day ever.

“For the time being I’m probably one of the happiest 26, 27 men in England and hopefully we can make not just us but however many millions at home the happiest as well.”

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Ramsdale did not do himself any favours on his last England appearance as he was at fault for Jón Dagur Thorsteinsson’s goal in Iceland’s shock 1-0 win at Wembley last week.

He is expected to play second fiddle to fellow keeper Jordan Pickford for the upcoming tournament and although he seems upbeat about the Euros, his long-term future is far murkier.

Manager Arteta clearly wants to keep him at the club, after saying in April: “There is a big reality that Aaron is here because he is our player and has a contract.”

But whether Ramsdale, who is reportedly valued at £30m by Arsenal which is likely to put off potential suitors, will try to force a move elsewhere remains to be seen.