Arsenal have finally conceded defeat in their pursuit of Brentford goalkeeper David Raya, according to a report.
Raya has been on Arsenal’s radar for more than a year after they decided to replace Emiliano Martinez last summer. After keeping their faith in Bernd Leno as number one, they sent the Argentine to Aston Villa. They wanted to replace him with Raya, but had to settle for Runar Alex Runarsson instead.
Runarsson did not make a good first impression, prompting Arsenal to secure the services of Mat Ryan in January. The Australian joined on loan from Brighton and is likely to make the move permanent.
But links with Raya have still lingered in the background. However, according to The Sun, they will now definitively fade.
Arsenal were keeping Raya in mind because of a clause in his contract that would make him available for £10m if Brentford missed out on promotion. But after winning the Championship play-off final, that clause is no longer valid.
Hence, Brentford can command whatever price they like. They would surely want to keep their number one for their debut Premier League campaign.
Therefore, Arsenal will have to admit defeat and focus on the permanent signing of Ryan instead.
But the report adds that the Gunners regret their decision to sell Martinez last summer, after Leno made some mistakes over the course of the season. Hence, it seems they are not completely satisfied with their goalkeeping department.
If Leno leaves, they will need to find another new keeper. The report does not mention any potential targets in that event.
Arsenal named contenders for Szczesny
A previous report from Gazzetta Dello Sport suggested one option could be to bring Wojciech Szczesny back to the Emirates Stadium.
Szczesny has fared much better in Italy than he did at Arsenal and remains Juventus’ number one. But the Old Lady have been linked with signing Gianluigi Donnarumma as a long-term successor, which may push the Pole out.
The 31-year-old would not be content in a backup role and therefore may have to move if Donnarumma arrives. Returning to Arsenal could be a surprise solution.
Szczesny was not the most consistent player in his previous spell in north London. He may have some convincing to do to win over Arsenal’s fans again, but if he plays to the standards he has in Italy, that would help.
Szczesny would also count as a homegrown player after coming through Arsenal’s academy, which adds to his appeal.
However, it is not yet clear if Arsenal will make a formal bid. They are simply mentioned as a candidate to sign him at this stage.