Arsenal signing this talented 23-year-old Newcastle rising star would bolster a key position

Freddie Woodman has emerged as a target for Arsenal in January (Getty Images)

Why Arsenal signing Freddie Woodman would sort out goalkeeping issues

According to claims from Football.London (h/t Daily Express), Arsenal have been credited with an interest in Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, who is currently out on loan at Swansea City in the EFL Championship.

The Gunners are understood to be in the market for a new shot-stopper to deputise for undisputed No.1 Bernd Leno between the sticks. As per the report, technical director Edu has earmarked Woodman as a potential candidate to come through the door as the club’s new second-choice goalkeeper. (Football.London h/t Daily Express)

Profile

Woodman joined the youth ranks of Newcastle United from Crystal Palace back in 2013. He furthered his development on loan at Hartlepool United and Crawley Town in League Two before making his first-team debut for the Magpies in an FA Cup tie in January 2018. 

STEVENAGE, ENGLAND – JANUARY 09: Freddie Woodman of Swansea City looks on, where the Emirates FA Cup badge can be seen on his shirt sleeve during the FA Cup Third Round match between Stevenage and Swansea City at The Lamex Stadium on January 09, 2021, in Stevenage, England. (Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)

The former England U-21 shot-stopper was then loaned out to Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership for the remainder of the 2017-18 campaign. Woodman joined Swansea City on loan in the Championship in the summer of 2019 to continue his development with regular game time. The 23-year-old caught the eye with 12 clean sheets in 43 league appearances for the Swans and was instrumental in their march to the Playoffs. 

The Croydon-born goalkeeper rejoined Swansea for a second successive loan this past summer and has already bettered his exploits from the previous campaign. Woodman has been an integral part of a rearguard that has conceded just 13 goals in 24 games in the Championship so far, keeping 14 clean sheets in the process. 

More Reliability?

Arsenal roped in Alex Runarsson to act as the understudy to Bernd Leno following the sale of Emiliano Martinez. However, the Icelandic international has struggled to make the step up to English football. He doesn’t seem ready for first-team action after failing to make some routine saves against Man City in the EFL Cup. 

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND – JANUARY 15: Freddie Woodman of Newcastle United celebrates his sides fourth goal during the FA Cup Third Round Replay match between Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United at Ewood Park on January 15, 2019 in Blackburn, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

The report adds that the Gunners are looking to send Runnarson out on loan to gain more experience after his recent shaky displays. However, with Matt Macey also departing on loan to Hibernian, Mikel Arteta would surely need to bring in a new back-up goalkeeper before sanctioning an exit for Runarsson.

Putting things into context, Freddie Woodman ticks plenty of boxes as an excellent long-term investment for Arsenal. The former England youth international has been among the most consistent goalkeepers in the Championship over the 18 months and still has plenty of room for development at 23. 

Verdict

Woodman has always been rated highly as an excellent all-round shot-stopper in English football. The youngster has already started to deliver on his potential in the Championship and looks more than ready to thrive in the Premier League. 

STEVENAGE, ENGLAND – JANUARY 09: Freddie Woodman of Swansea City saves a penalty from Luke Norris of Stevenage during the FA Cup Third Round match between Stevenage and Swansea City at The Lamex Stadium on January 09, 2021, in Stevenage, England. (Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)

Arsenal are only viewing him as an understudy to Leno, so that would allow Arteta the time and the flexibility to gradually phase him into life in the top-flight. However, it remains to be seen whether Woodman would be prepared to play second-fiddle to the German at the Emirates.

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Nevertheless, the 23-year-old would certainly offer the Gunners a far more reliable option than Runarsson as the second-choice goalkeeper.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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