Former Leeds United defender and BBC pundit Danny Mills has discouraged Arsenal from signing Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale in an interview with Football Insider, as the 44-year-old questions why they want to spend big on Bernd Leno’s understudy.
Despite back-to-back relegations with the Blades and AFC Bournemouth in the last two seasons, 23-year-old Ramsdale has been the subject of major interest from the Premier League this summer, with Tottenham, Wolves and the Gunners all reported to be interested in the England international after becoming one of the South Yorkshire side’s few shining lights from last season.
However, all three sides will have to overcome three major hurdles if they want to secure the keeper, with the 23-year-old reiterating his commitment to the club last month, a price tag of £40m and his participation in the European Championships with Dean Henderson dropping out.
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Therefore, any move for the keeper is likely to come after the end of the tournament, although Sheffield United’s valuation of Ramsdale could persuade Arsenal to pursue England teammate and West Brom shot-stopper Sam Johnstone instead.
Pundit Danny Mills is puzzled with the Premier League side’s logic on this potential transfer and has urged the North London side to change their strategy.
Speaking to Football Insider about this subject, he said: “It’s interesting isn’t it, because Heaton has just gone to Man Utd, so you start to think that’s one of Henderson or De Gea out and where do they go?
“With Ramsdale, that’s an awful lot for a back-up keeper. You can often pick up a back-up keeper, like Tom Heaton who’s a very capable goalkeeper in his mid-30s. They’re not happy but they understand their role is to sit on the bench. You can find someone like that for not a lot of money.
“It seems a lot of money to pay for a second-choice goalkeeper.
“Leno’s not a bad keeper. It’s not like you need to replace him immediately. That’s why I can’t believe it or work it out because Arsenal have other things to sort out in the transfer market. There are a lot more important things than their goalkeeper that need to change.
“To go big for a second-choice goalkeeper, something doesn’t quite seem right with that.”
Although Mills would be completely right on this one if their heart is set on keeping Leno as first choice, the Gunners could be looking to make a signing to actively compete with the German for the number one jersey as manager Mikel Arteta looks to raise performance levels ahead of next season.
Emiliano Martinez was a genuine challenger to Leno before the former’s move to Aston Villa and they may want a signing in the goalkeeping department to do what the Argentine did towards the end of his spell at the Emirates, perhaps even to take over at some point if Leno hits a bad run of form.
But regardless of this, Sheffield United’s £40m asking price is way too steep for the former Premier League champions with other areas to strengthen and focus on – and they could be better served going for 28-year-old Sam Johnstone who has just one year left on his contract at The Hawthorns.
For Blades, this is a welcome deterrent as they look to keep hold of one of their prized assets.