Aaron Ramsdale: Arsenal ‘pushing’ to sign Sheffield United and England goalkeeper as ‘transfer talks resume’

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Arsenal are keen to sign Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale  (Getty Images)
Arsenal are keen to sign Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale (Getty Images)

Arsenal are still pushing to sign England’s Aaron Ramsdale this summer, Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic has confirmed.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta wants to recruit a new goalkeeper before the August 31 transfer deadline, seeking competition, cover and a potential future successor to current undisputed no1 Bernd Leno, who is out of contract in the summer of 2023.

Estonian teenager Karl Jakob Hein was on the bench for Friday’s Premier League opener at Brentford, with former loanee Mat Ryan now at Real Sociedad and Alex Runarsson not deemed up to the required standard.

Arsenal have been keen on Ramsdale following Sheffield United’s abject relegation from the Premier League last season and are rumoured to have seen two bids for the 23-year-old rejected before talks reached a stalemate last week with the clubs some way apart in terms of their respective valuations.

However, fresh reports from The Athletic on Tuesday claimed that negotiations had now resumed, with the Blades crucially said to be willing to lower their demands from an initial £35million fee to around £24m.

Jokanovic was inevitably asked once again if Ramsdale would be leaving Bramall Lane in the next fortnight as he faced the media ahead of Wednesday night’s trip to face fellow Championship promotion hopefuls West Brom at The Hawthorns.

“I don’t know,” he replied, per Yorkshire Live. “If you ask me if I want him to leave, then no. I am the Sheffield United coach, he’s a Sheffield United player now and it will depend on the club, it will depend on our club and it will depend also Arsenal, too.

“They are the principal club pushing for him. In this moment there does not exist any change, we will see what happens in the future.”

Ramsdale rejoined boyhood club Sheffield United from relegated Bournemouth in an £18.5m deal last summer, appearing in all 38 of the club’s Premier League fixtures in 2020/21 before being named in England’s 33-man provisional squad for the rescheduled European Championship.

The former Under-21 regular was later drafted into Gareth Southgate’s finals squad during the tournament after Manchester United’s Dean Henderson suffered a hip injury.

Ramsdale has appeared in both of winless Sheffield United’s second-tier matches so far this term against Birmingham and Swansea amid those ongoing Arsenal transfer links.

Asked if the player wanted to stay, Jokanovic said: “Naturally he wants to be a Premier League player.

“I am talking with him, he believes it can be a good move for himself, but it is not a bad thing for him if he stays with us.

“He is a talented English player and I understand Arsenal are interested, but this is the business. If he is one of the best players in the league, his price is really high and in the end the decision can be with Arsenal if they want him or not. If they want him they need to spend a lot of money.

“If you ask me if I will sell for £100m I would say no. I have no interest in selling the guy but I understand the business side of the club and understand Aaron, too.

“But Aaron understands very well what I want. I explain to him a few times I am not a guy who wants to push him out of the club. If Arsenal want to spend £100m and my word is last I would still say no.

“This is it, but I must be prudent and show some responsibility about club business, too.”

The Serbian added: “I will be disappointed if he leaves the club but it’s part of the realistic situation.

“Arsenal is pushing from one side and I am pulling from a different side.

“This is part of the game. They have more tools than me right now. I cannot pay his contract with this transfer and I am always in a little bit of trouble with this kind of thing.

“Actually right now I am thinking about him as a Sheffield United player because he is a Sheffield United player and we need to recognise that interest exists. That’s it, we will see what happens.

“I will be more satisfied if this guy stays and be part of my team but if it doesn’t happen, I will wish him all the best. Everything will be in the future, but right now he is still our player.”

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