Well, after basking in the radiant glow that is an away win on Thursday night, what better way to continue the positivity than to announce a shiny new signing!
Ok, we kind of knew the deal was done for US national team goalkeeper Matt Turner and yes, it isn’t exactly in the position we need, but I think this is a sensible and shrewd move and we need to look at the facts. Those facts are that Bernd Leno will have one year left on his deal at the end of this season. He isn’t getting back in to the Arsenal team as number one and he will want to play regular football. Even before we signed Ramsdale there was talks of him not wanting to sign a new deal and I think most of us accepted he’d probably move on. If/When that happens in the summer it will be with Arsenal fans blessing, a thank you for some fantastic performances, then we move on.
And let’s face it, given some of the acrimonious exits we’ve had over the years, this one won’t sting as much. It helps that Ramsdale has come in and kicked us on a level. It also helps that Leno himself hasn’t kicked up a stink. He’ll be bitterly disappointed that he isn’t playing but from what Arteta has said about him he has taken it as well as you can, he has kept his head up and he’s looked decent enough with the little game time he’s had. There is also the fee to consider. The rumours are that all-in, Turner will join for around £7.5million with add-ons and for a back up ‘keeper who is an international, you have to say that it is a good deal for us. He will clearly be the number two, he has pedigree by playing at international level, he won’t be the starter and will fill the gap left by Leno upon his exit. At that price too he won’t come in on massive wages. Leno is reportedly on £100k-per-week and so if you’re bringing in a guy like Turner you’re probably paying him half that. If it’s a five year deal it works as he’s 27 at the moment, plus even for next season the wage bill would have £2.6million removed from it if my numbers are roughly correct with the wage difference between Leno and Turner.
There’s also the fee for Leno. If we get more than £7.5million for the German – which you’d expect given his pedigree – then you’ll be making a profit and his transfer effectively pays for Turner’s fee outright. If we get more than £10million and Turner is on half the wages Leno is on, you’ve even paid for the first year of his salary!
So this all feels eminently sensible from the football admin team at the club and at a time in which we’ve had our questions about the inability to offload players and paying players to go away, you have to give some credit to Edu, Garlick et al about the quiet way about which they’ve addressed a potential summer issue here. I hope it also means we don’t get low-balled on a fee for Leno. If we spent all summer trying to offload him and then left it too late and we couldn’t find a replacement, we’d end up with a Runarsson-type deal which doesn’t work for anyone and costs us when called upon. With this situation we can bat away low bids and teams who are looking for an upgrade will have to come back with sensible offers for a ‘keeper we played £25million for and is still in prime age to have another five or more years left.
So whilst I have my gripes with the way we’ve gone about things over the last few years, this feels like Arsenal getting it right. It will solve an issue in a summer in which we will have enough things to worry about with regards to getting outfield players in to get the squad right. We will ned to get another midfielder, a back up right back, possibly a wing forward and maybe even two strikers in the summer. We lose Elneny, Lacazette, Nketiah and we could also find ourselves with a buyer for Pepe, who doesn’t seem to be in Arteta’s favour any more, so that would surely mean another incoming there. So the decks have been cleared, the wage bill has been trimmed, all signs point towards investment in the summer and one of the positions in which we need squad depth looks like it is being managed with a seamless transition.
Of course David Ospina was an international goalkeeper and Turner could turn out to be a guy who loves to stand behind his goal line, loves to throw the occasional one in the net and in a year’s time we could be talking about how he probably isn’t good enough, but on paper this looks like a shrewd move at this point so we have to applaud the work.
Elsewhere in the world of Arsenal we should applaud the women’s team, who remain top and got a draw away at Chelski last night. I watched the first 25 minutes whilst cooking and they were all over them, so hopefully they can continue the form as the season progresses.
Right, that’s it from me. You have a good one, enjoy your Saturday, then let’s hope for a Southampton away win against Man United at Old Trafford today. That would be delightful.
Catch you all tomorrow.