Sunday’s Community Shield proved that Aaron Ramsdale won’t go quietly
Aaron Ramsdale has had a mixed week.
Last Thursday, his interview in The Players Tribune earned him deserved praise. The revealing interview allowed readers to gain a greater understanding of his journey and his personality. His candour in discussing serious, personal topics, endeared him to football fans around the country.
The day after the interview was published, Arsenal submitted a bid worth up to £23 million for Brentford goalkeeper David Raya. The offer has been rejected but Arsenal are expected to bid again, and Raya is reportedly keen on the move.
Raya has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League over the last two years. Last season, the Spaniard made the most saves in the competition and possessed the highest save percentage. Coupled with this he is adept with the ball at his feet, highlighted by the fact he made the most successful passes over 40 metres. Jurgen Klopp commented following their 2021 3-3 draw with Brentford, “The goalkeeper could wear the number 10 shirt”.
Raya has previously spoken of his ambition to play in the Champions League and is only 27 years old. It’s clear he’s not keen to make the journey across London to become a back-up.
It may be that Mikel Arteta simply wants two high level goalkeeping options, hoping that the competition will bring out the best in each other. Regardless, Ramsdale rarely put a foot wrong last season and has established himself as one of the league’s best in his position. To have a challenger brought in, for a fee which will likely be around the same money Arsenal paid for himself, could easily be taken the wrong way.
Yet if one thing is clear from his history, it’s that Ramsdale is a fighter. Whether it was his rejection from multiple academies as a youth player, or his successive relegations with Bournemouth and Sheffield United, he has always picked himself up.
The Community Shield on Sunday was evidence that Ramsdale will not give up his place easily. Nothing could have been done about Cole Palmer’s wonderstrike, but Ramsdale performed well. His distribution was strong, and he saved brillianty to deny Phil Foden, before producing an impressive reaction save at his near post from a Rodri header.
Finally, he made a decisive stop in the penalty shootout, diving low to his right to save from Rodri again. Ødegaard, Trossard, Saka and Vieira were flawless from the spot, and Arsenal won their 17th Community Shield.
While for many the match is a glorified pre-season friendly, for Arsenal this was a statement of intent ahead of the start of competitive football next weekend.
Ramsdale said after the game, “It is a marker to know we can go and beat Man City in a big game when it matters.
“I don’t know what it will be like going through the season, but we have now got that mental block gone and we are ready now to push on all season long.”
Amid the speculation of an incoming transfer to challenge his position, he sounds like he has no plans to relinquish his spot as Arsenal renew their title ambitions.