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The £10m Arsenal signing Mikel Arteta has targeted to build on defensive title race blueprint

Arsenal have been linked to Netherlands goalkeeper Justin Bijlow
-Credit: (Image: ProShots/Icon Sport via Getty Images)


Arsenal are looking for a potential goalkeeper to sign this summer with an expectation that Aaron Ramsdale may indeed leave the Gunners after falling behind David Raya in the pecking order. The Spanish international is expected to make his move to the Emirates Stadium permanent this summer with the club having a £27million buy option in his loan contract from Brentford.

Feyenoord goalkeeper Justin Bijlow has emerged as a potential option and has recently spoken openly about a keenness to make a switch to a big side. When asked about links to Arsenal and Liverpool, there was a certain attraction to the potential transfer although he continued to pledge commitment to his current side.

“Those are two very nice clubs,” he told Voetbal Zone. “Of course, it is always nice to be mentioned at big clubs. What I’m just saying: I’m ambitious.

“As long as I play for Feyenoord, I’ll give everything for that and first I just want to focus on the Dutch team.”

The majority of supporters may be unaware of Bijlow as a goalkeeper and not sure what he would offer to the Gunners. Looking into the Dutch international’s profile, it is evident that he does share plenty of similarities with Raya although the shortcomings highlight why he would be considered for a competitive role rather than being the first choice.

For example, Raya has been praised for his presence in the box in how he collects crossed. According to FBRef, the Spaniard stopped 13% of crosses into the box putting him in the 99th percentile for goalkeepers in Europe’s top five leagues.

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Bijlow however managed to stop 13.6% of crosses, putting him in the 99th percentile for players in the next 14 top leagues according to FBRef. Both players have a presence to dominate their box from set pieces, corners and open-play crosses which appeals heavily to Mikel Arteta.

Outside of the box, Bijlow has a great read of the game and his 2.96 defensive actions outside of the penalty area rank again in the 99th percentile. Raya’s for comparison are 1.57, ranking him in just the 85th percentile – although still positive for sure.

In terms of shot-stopping Bijlow does drop down the rankings, sitting in just the 21st percentile for save percentage at 67.4%. That said, this is only slightly worse than Raya’s 70.2%.

Furthermore, it has been determined that Bijlow faced far more difficult shots this season compared to Raya. The Spaniard’s post-shot expected goals per shot on target of 0.25 (putting him in the 15th percentile) was considerably lower than the 0.35 for Bijlow and whilst that difference of 0.1 may not seem much, for context, this rating puts Bijlow in the 96th percentile for this metric.

What has most fans concerned however is Bijlow’s injury record. The 26-year-old missed nine games with a wrist fracture at the start of the season and then 15 more games because of a calf injury.

He still played 24 games across all competitions, more than enough for what a second keeper would be expected to play at Arsenal but a history of issues down the years have seemingly damaged his view beyond repair for some. At a reported £10million fee, he would likely however be worth the risk to be a number two at Arsenal.