Aaron Ramsdale played every minute of our league campaign last season, twice winning the Premier League Save of the Month award, and keeping 14 clean sheets in all.
But that hasn’t stopped Mikel Arteta from strengthening his goalkeeping position yet further, by recruiting Spain international stopper David Raya from Brentford.
The boss believes that increasing the level of competition within the squad will improve the environment across the board, and that it’s healthy for every position – whether in goal or outfield.
“When we had different goalkeepers there were questions as well,” Arteta said in his pre-match press conference. “To have two excellent goalkeepers is great - there's nothing wrong with it. We have two great left-wingers and two great strikers and two great holding midfielders. We have Jorginho, Thomas and Declan and that is not a problem, and it should not be a problem.
“We want to be better every single day and to be better the environment has to change and be better. We tend to always be at a certain level because it's in our nature - when you change the environment and the environment is to be 100 per cent every day, believe me, the level is going to increase.
“I've seen that close up with my own eyes with the players that we have now, compared to the players we had two years ago. If we want to be better, we have to create that environment.”
The manager added that there is no set first-choice goalkeeper this season, but that’s the case across the rest of his squad too. When asked about who was number one, he responded: “In any position? No. Nine, seven, eleven, six, goalkeeper - no, there isn’t,” he confirmed.
Arteta also outlined why he brought Raya to the club, and emphasised the need to have quality cover for all players.
“[He brings] better qualities for our game model, it’s very simple,” the boss said. “We want two players per position that can do that, and you saw what happened to Jurrien, it can happen to our goalkeeper, it happened to [Real Madrid's] Courtois.
“You need to be prepared because the question will be ‘what is it, two goalkeepers of this size?’ And if Aaron was to sustain a cruciate injury, then what do you say? So, we have to be prepared, we have to be proactive, and we have two excellent goalkeepers now that fit exactly what we want in our model, so I’m very happy with that.”
Having completed his transfer on Tuesday, 27-year-old Raya – who was ever-present in the Premier League for the Bees last season – is eligible to be involved for us in the matchday squad for the first time on Monday night, as we travel to face Crystal Palace.
Read everything else the boss said in his pre-match press conference, including the blow of losing Jurrien Timber to an ACL injury, other team news and much more.
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