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Struggling Arsenal star linked with early exit – Should Arteta persist with him?

Dundalk FC v Arsenal UEFA Europa League Alex Runarsson of Arsenal during the UEFA Europa League match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxCHN Copyright: xYannisxHalasx FIL-14889-0091

Why Arsenal will be making a mistake by offloading Alex Runarsson

According to The Athletic (subscription required) via Metro, Arsenal are ready to offload Alex Runarsson just months after signing him. The Gunners are looking to send out the Icelandic keeper on loan and are also looking at replacements. It is being said that the club wants him to gain some experience away from the club.

Runarsson is a talented keeper

The departure of Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa presented another problem in a key area that Arsenal needed 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 started Arsenal’s first two games of the 2020-21 Premier League season but they needed a quality back-up option in that department.

Alex Runarsson might not be the most high-profile goalkeeper in Europe but he certainly ticked 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.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 29: Runar Alex Runarsson of Arsenal is challenged by Patrick Hoban of Dundalk during the UEFA Europa League Group B stage match between Arsenal FC and Dundalk FC at Emirates Stadium on October 29, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Furthermore, Runarsson is adept at playing with his feet, thus making him a good all-round package between the sticks. 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 fulfil his promise moving forward.

Arsenal need to give him more time

Everybody makes mistakes, but when goalkeepers make them, it is costly. That’s the nature of being a goalkeeper. Being a goalkeeper is a thankless job. You can make 5 good saves but it’s the goal you let in that will be talked about. Alex Runarsson found himself in that situation against Manchester City in the EFL Cup quarterfinals.

His first error gave Man City the lead. Arsenal equalised but it was all down the drain as Runarsson tried to parry a freekick which ended up in the net. To be fair, the third and fourth goals weren’t entirely his fault.

Arsenal’s Spanish midfielder Dani Ceballos and Arsenal’s Brazilian defender Gabriel speak to Arsenal’s Icelandic goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson (C) during the English League Cup quarter final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium, in London on December 22, 2020. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

However, it is somewhat understandable that it came from a young keeper like Runarsson who is going through his first season in a highly competitive English football environment. Let’s not forget he is the second choice at the Emirates, which means he has remained out of action for large chunks of the season.

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It seems logical that Arsenal want him to gain experience elsewhere given Leno is the first choice and with good reason. However, this is exactly where the club needs to show faith in the youngster.

Runarsson deleted his Twitter account after the game, probably expecting harsh words from fans. The club are in a good run of form currently and Runarsson should be given more chances in the future to prove his mettle.

Written by Sourav Ghosh

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