Gunner Thoughts

Let’s talk Runar Alex Runarsson

Coming off the back of an Aubameyang deal and an Emi Martinez sale, things will start to move fast, but maybe it isn’t too surprising that the 24 hours immediately following it all were a bit slow. I don’t think anyone will be too worried yet given those two transfer window actions, combined with the proximity to the Premier League’s second fixture with West Ham, that we didn’t get some immediate news.

We did get rumors that Arsenal are preparing a second big to Lyon for Aouar, but whether that is the rumor mill following up on the next natural progression or concrete fact, we will find out soon enough. It has become known that Aouar is interested in coming and Arsenal have spoken to his agents many times which certainly raises the likelihood. At the very least it demonstrates an intent to pursue.

People will be anxious to have dominoes continue to fall after feeling as though the Emi sale set things in motion, but there is likely a few more in between now and an Aouar or Partey announcement. Torreira being sold, potentially Bellerin, offloading a few non-homegrown players to make room and meet quota, are just a few on the list. Not all will happen, but one that MUST happen is the purchase of a new number two goalkeeper.

This brings us to Runar Alex Runnaarson, 25 year-old Icelandic goalkeeper and the man topping Arsenal’s list. But to say he is someone the fans are wild for would be a massive overstatement. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Since moving to Dijon, Runarsson has made 45 appearances and conceded 78 goals leaving a lot of people scratching their head.

To keep piling on, when at FC Nordsjaelland, he made 65 appearances but conceded a whopping 102 goals. Throughout his career he has made 116 appearances and conceded 196 goals while only maintaining 19 clean sheets. Thats a 1.68 goals-per-game average. Compare that to Emi’s career numbers of 138 appearances and 165 goals conceded (1.19 GPG) which is significantly better and you can see the downgrade we are getting.

To say Runar isn’t Maritnez, is an understatement, but he doesn’t really need to be. With a £2m price tag, the expectation is that his time on this pitch will be as small as the dent he makes to our spending ability. It’s a calculated risk. Obviously we saw Leno get hurt last year and his backup come in to save the day, but at this point Arsenal are willing to take that chance in order to spend every last penny they can on their midfield.

But why Runar? Why not someone that instills a little more confidence? Likely because of the familiarity between Runarsson and Arsenal keeper coach Inaki Cana. During his time at FC Nordsjaelland, these two crossed paths, and one has to imagine that if you are going to spend such a minor amount on a goalie, having a familiarity with the goal keeping coach at least allows you to know what you’re working.

The truth is, Runarsson doesn’t even need to play during cup matches. There is no rule that your backup has to play for cup matches, it’s just something that has become commonplace. So when Arsenal play Leicester City in the third round, or play harder teams, he may get the call or he likely won’t.

That is a lot of time for Bernd and a lot of minutes, so I do imagine there will be matches we would see Runar between the sticks. It’s in those matches that we will have to have confidence that our team will be in control of possession and our defense, more than up to the challenge of shutting down opposition attackers. I think it’s fair to assume that Arsenal’s backline, even with it’s issues, will be better than the defense he had in front of him at Dijon which is in 19th, has played 2 matches and conceded 7 goals or last year finished 16th.

To put it harshly, Runarsson can’t fill the boots of Emi Martinez, but he doesn’t really need to. His expectations will be different and Bernd Leno will play a more prominent roles. To go one step further, I find it very likely that next year, or the following, when the playing squad is a bit more complete, Arsenal move him along. With a £2m price tag, a move to Arsenal, coupled with even a few decent performances could net Arsenal a decent ROI down the line.

Bigger fish to fry as they say, and right now, Runarsson allows Arsenal to have a chance at catching those fish.

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