Why Alex Runarsson would be a good bargain buy for Arsenal
The Gunners were on the lookout for a new back-up goalkeeper given Emiliano Martinez’s departure for Aston Villa.
Alex Runarsson started his youth career at KR Reykjavik in Iceland and eventually made his professional debut for his boyhood club before earning a move to Danish giants FC Nordsjaelland in 2014.
He made his senior breakthrough in Denmark a year later and went on to make 62 appearances in all competitions, keeping 11 clean sheets before joining French Ligue 1 outfit FC Dijon in 2018. Runarsson made 36 appearances for Dijon in all competitions, managing 7 shut-outs.
A full international for Iceland since 2017, the 25-year-old has accumulated 5 senior caps and represented his nation at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Runarsson would sort out a key issue for Arsenal
Arsenal have already bolstered their defence with the acquisition of Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille while also completing permanent deals for last season’s loanees, Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares. William Saliba has also returned from his loan spell to increase competition for places at the back, with Mikel Arteta now boasting plenty of defensive cover.
However, the departure of Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa presents another problem in a key area that Arsenal need to sort out at the earliest. The Argentine shot-stopper was hugely impressive towards the back end of the previous campaign and produced a number of top-notch displays in the absence of regular No.1 Bernd Leno.
Leno has started Arsenal’s first two games of the 2020-21 Premier League season but they need a quality back-up option in that department. Alex Runarsson might not be the most high-profile goalkeeper in Europe but he certainly ticks all the boxes as a quality low-cost addition to Arsenal’s squad.
The Icelandic international already has top-flight experience in Denmark and France, so it will be interesting to see how he copes with the challenge of playing at a club of Arsenal’s stature.
The Evening Standard has listed the 25-year-old’s athleticism and ability to make saves from point-blank range as his key attributes. Furthermore, it has also been claimed that Runarsson is adept at playing with his feet, thus making him a good all-round package between the sticks.
- Why Thomas Partey would be a fantastic addition to Arsenal
- Opinion: Arsenal should avoid a move for West Ham’s Felipe Anderson
- Why Arsenal should keep their eyes off Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard
Alex Runarsson still has his best years ahead of him at 25 while his exploits at a mid-table club like Dijon in France is indicative of some real talent and potential. Having said that, Arsenal could have a real competitor for Leno in goal if the Icelandic star manages to fulfill his promise moving forward.
In addition to that, the reported cost of the move means the Gunners have saved a fortune in the transfer window, thus allowing Arteta to re-invest the funds raised from Martinez’s sale to improve other areas of his squad.