Mikel Arteta believes that Aaron Ramsdale’s elevation into the Arsenal team has served as a warning for everyone at The Emirates.
The England keeper, who has been named in the Three Lions squad for the next World Cup qualifiers, arrived at the club in August after a long and protracted transfer. The Gunners will pay as much as £30m to Sheffield United, including add-ons for the 23-year-old.
Arteta landed the stopper to give Bernd Leno some competition, but already the younger man has taken pole position.
Ramsdale has started four games and all four have coincided with victories. While Leno has had to settle for a place on the bench, Ramsdale has managed three clean sheets.
Speaking about his situation with Bild, Leno admitted it was a “difficult” time.
He said (via Sport Witness): “There was no clear reason why I was out, but it had nothing to do with my performance.
“He [Arteta] is the trainer, he decides. Of course, it’s difficult for me.”
Asked about Ramsdale taking over from Leno as Arsenal’s new number one, Arteta was guarded at his press conference ahead of the visit to Brighton.
He said: “It causes that everybody has to raise the level and I think that’s really positive.
“You can see when players are coming in now they are ready to take the place. It’s going to happen with Granit (Xhaka). Players are ready because the training is top.”
Xhaka injury ‘a big, big loss’
Asked about the blow regarding Xhaka, the Spaniard insisted they would try and keep the Swiss star integrated with the team.
Xhaka was injured late on in the north London derby and his knee injury will sideline him for three months.
“Well he is. He’s a big big loss. We’re going to lose him for a while. We’ll try to keep him as close as possible to the team.
“We are here to help him and I’m sure we’ll find some ways around it because we have some really good players who can do the job.
“Obviously it’s really bad news personally for Granit. He’s a strong man he will use this time to focus on other things and I’m sure he will be back in the right place when he’s back. He will be missed but other players have to step in.
“He probably escaped an even worse injury because that action for a cruciate injury is a tricky one. Hopefully, he can escape surgery as well,” said Arteta.
With Xhaka missing, Arteta will have to pick a replacement holding midfielder. Asked whether the versatile Ashley Maitland-Niles could be a player to step in, Arteta said: “He’s certainly one.”