Aaron Ramsdale has revealed which Arsenal player gave a glowing review of him to Mikel Arteta before completing his transfer to the club this summer.
Despite being relegated in consecutive seasons with Bournemouth and Sheffield United, Arsenal showed their faith in Ramsdale by signing him to a long-term contract. It was initially thought he would provide sterner competition for Bernd Leno, but it seems he has already overtaken the previous number one in the pecking order.
Ramsdale featured regularly for Arsenal throughout September and up to the October international break. His regularity as a starter coincided with Arsenal’s upturn in form. Now, Leno’s future is in immediate doubt and his new competitor looks capable of being a long-term successor.
Some questioned the purchase of Ramsdale in the summer after his relegation record and Sheffield United’s asking price. But Arteta saw beyond that and ensured Arsenal committed to their new man.
Ramsdale has now opened up on how one of his England colleagues helped the transfer come about.
The 23-year-old says Bukayo Saka, with whom he was a member of the Euro 2020 squad, played his part in backing up Arteta’s decision.
“Agent Saka,” Ramsdale said. “That’s what he says.
“He said the manager [Arteta] spoke to him a couple of times and thankfully he gave a good review of me.”
While Saka is seemingly glad to be a teammate of Ramsdale, the feeling is mutual. The goalkeeper shared his appreciation of the wide man as a player and person.
“What a guy,” Ramsdale said.
“He’s just happy. He’s just always happy. What a footballer as well.
“I’m very happy now he’s on my team at club level.
“When you come here and you’ve got the talent which we’ve got up top and Bukayo’s right in the mix of that.
“You just can’t help but smile when he’s mentioned or when he’s in the room.”
Ramsdale receives praise from pundit
Arsenal’s new goalkeeper has started seven games so far this season. In that time, he has proven his doubters wrong by conceding only two goals and keeping five clean sheets.
One man who is glad to see Ramsdale thriving is former Gunners striker Kevin Campbell. He noticed how the England international has offered something transformative in comparison to Leno.
“This is the beautiful thing about football,” he told Football Insider recently.
“At first, I didn’t pass judgement because I did not know enough about him. Instead, I went away and did my research. Others made preconceptions about him because he was relegated with a couple of clubs. It was held against him straight away.
“When people found out he was signing he received hate on social media. He had to turn off his messages and comments and this was before he had even signed for the football club. Straight away fans are on his back even though he hadn’t done anything.
“There was a pre-conceived idea that he was not good enough for Arsenal. But let me tell you, that young man has impressed me as much as anyone they’ve signed. I think he’s been incredible.
“Not just his saves and his distribution but the way he commands his box. He is not afraid to give his defenders a rollicking. That is really important. I never saw Leno do it.
“You can see that he has a feeling for the football club.”