According to The Telegraph (subscription required), Arsenal could return for David Raya of Brentford. The Gunners pursued him in the last transfer window after the departure of Emiliano Martinez. They eventually signed Alex Runarsson as the second-choice. However, with the Icelandic keeper struggling, the club could again dip into the market.
Born in Spain, Raya qualifies as a homegrown talent in England as he came through the ranks of Blackburn Rovers’ youth system. After spending a month on loan with Stockport, he returned to the club and went on to make 108 appearances.
His impressive performances earned him a move to Griffin Park in the summer of 2019 and Raya was one of the key players who helped the Bees reach the final of the Championship playoffs. In 49 games last season, he conceded just 42 goals and managed to keep 16 clean sheets. (h/t Transfermarkt)
In 70 games for Brentford, he has managed to keep 24 clean sheets.
Bern Leno has been the Gunners’ first-choice shot-stopper since his arrival. The German was a very important presence in goal for Arsenal until he was left on the sidelines due to a major injury last season. Second-choice goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez did well in Leno’s absence.
With Martinez departing for Aston Villa, Runar Alex Runarsson has stepped in as the second-choice this term. However, the youngster has been given limited chances and even in those, he has somewhat fluffed his lines.
Case in point being the Manchester City game in the Carabao Cup. It seems like Runarsson still needs some more time to develop and a spell in the reserves or on loan would do him good.
In that regard, Raya would be a viable option for the club. The Spaniard has been in sensational form over the past eighteen months. And at 25, has a lot to offer at a higher level. He has immense experience in English football and would be an able understudy to Leno at Arsenal. At the same time, he is also capable of fighting for the first-choice spot.
At 25, Raya seems to be at the right time to take a huge stride into the Premier League. At the same time, the Gunners are also in need of in-form goalkeepers given Martinez’s departure and Runarsson’s inexperience.
The Spaniard would provide Arsenal with some much-needed depth and quality in the goalkeeping department. Thus, they should attempt to lure him to Emirates at the earliest.