EPL

Arsenal sign Sheffield United goalkeeper Ramsdale

By Sports Desk August 20, 2021

Arsenal have completed the signing of goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale from Championship club Sheffield United for a reported £24million plus add-ons.

Ramsdale made England's squad at Euro 2020 after Dean Henderson had to pull out through injury, though it was Jordan Pickford who played every minute of the Three Lions' campaign.

The 23-year-old joined Sheffield United in 2020 after going down with Bournemouth, but he suffered a consecutive Premier League relegation as the Blades finished bottom last season.

However, Mikel Arteta sees Ramsdale as genuine competition for Bernd Leno, and perhaps a long-term replacement for the Germany international, too.

Ramsdale was left out of the Blades' squad for Wednesday's game against West Brom. Slavisa Jokanovic had previously insisted Ramsdale was not for sale, though ahead of the Baggies match, conceded a deal could happen if the club's valuation was met.

Arsenal confirmed on their official website on Friday that he has signed a long-term deal at Emirates Stadium, thought to run through until the end of 2024-25, with the fee reportedly set to rise to up to £30m if performance-based add-ons are met.

The Gunners, who lost their opening game of the season at newly promoted Brentford, have now made five signings in total this window, with Ramsdale joining Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares and playmaker Martin Odegaard, whose move from Real Madrid was made permanent on Friday. 

IS RAMSDALE THE RIGHT FIT?

Ramsdale conceded 63 goals in 38 league appearances last season, the third-most in the league behind Crystal Palace's Vicente Guaita (64) and West Brom's Sam Johnstone (74).

In total, Ramsdale faced 546 shots on his goal (including blocks), with only Johnstone (579) facing more. 

Ramsdale made 147 saves, second-most in the competition – again, trailing Johnstone (166) – registering a save percentage of 69.86 per cent, above the average of 69.01 per cent.

Leno, Arsenal's current first-choice goalkeeper, ended the season with a save percentage of 69.42, with the former Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper stopping 86 attempts in total. He made one error leading to a goal, compared with Ramsdale's two.

A key facet to Arsenal's play under Arteta has been their intent to play out from the back, a tactic that has not always borne fruit.

In a more direct style of play at Sheffield United, Ramsdale attempted 1,019 passes – ranking fifth in the league for goalkeepers – though his completion rate of 43.38 per cent was the second-worst of any shot-stopper to play over 20 matches.

Ramsdale was only marginally better when it came to passes in his own half, completing 76.78 per cent of such attempts, way behind Leno's 94.27 per cent, while the German had a 76.83 per cent accuracy overall.

The numbers would suggest Ramsdale may well be able to hold his own when it comes to shot-stopping, if not represent a slight improvement on Leno, though if Arteta insists on a possession game, then there is much work to be done.

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