Sheffield Utd boss Slavisa Jokanovic admitted the “huge” deal Arsenal proposed for Aaron Ramsdale was “difficult to stop”, despite his better judgement.
Arsenal have been chasing a new goalkeeper for much of the summer. They were fleetingly linked with Ajax’s Andre Onana, but Ramsdale’s name always remained atop their list.
Figures of between £30-£40m had been banded around, though the Athletic claimed £26m will do the trick. The PA news agency, meanwhile claimed the deal with the Blades would be worth £24m.
Nevertheless, Ramsdale appears bound to challenge Bernd Leno for the gloves at the Emirates this season.
That will please the stopper whose hopes of retaining his spot in the England squad will be boosted by playing at the top level.
His current manager, however, cut a frustrated figure when responding to the impending deal on Wednesday night.
Ramsdale was left out of their Championship clash with West Brom in which the Blades suffered a heavy 4-0 thumping. Ramsdale was sorely missed, and Jokanovic admitted Arsenal’s “huge” Ramsdale offer was too good to turn down.
“It’s not really what I want but it’s difficult to stop this kind of situation,” admitted Jokanovic after the defeat.
“It’s a huge deal for the club and we have been relegated from the Premier League, so it’s complicated to say no.”
Jokanovic will now hope to be able to spend much of the fee to strengthen his squad to improve their chances of an immediate return to the Premier League after taking just one point from their first three games and failing to score.
“I can’t say how much we will invest but we will definitely need to invest some of this money on an improvement to the squad,” added the former Watford and Fulham head coach.
Merson blasts “lazy” Arsenal recruitment
Meanwhile, Paul Merson has questioned how much power Mikel Arteta has over Arsenal transfers after hitting out at their “lazy” recruitment under Edu.
Merson told Sky Sports: “It’s worrying at Arsenal. You’re still thinking: ‘Where are they going?’ Edu has come in, and the recruitment has been lazy, if I’m being honest. It’s been: ‘Oh, we’ll take Willian on a free… we’ll take David Luiz for cheap.’
“I remember years ago in football, managers were judged on signings. Sometimes I think Arteta is left behind, and I’m not sure how much of a say he has got in all of this.”
“Why would you let Joe Willock go? I’m not saying he’s the answer, but he’s come through the club and is going for £25m. That sort of money isn’t going to change Arsenal. It’s not like a Harry Kane or Jack Grealish sale where you get £100m and can rebuild the team.
“But Arsenal are prepared to pay Willian big money. Where is the future in that? It’s quick fixes. Surely Willock is a future player and for the present, and can be involved in the plan.”