Aaron Ramsdale has rare chance to shine amid uncertain future at Arsenal

Aaron Ramsdale has rare chance to shine amid uncertain future at Arsenal

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says the club are yet to hold talks with Aaron Ramsdale over his future.

Ramsdale has lost his spot as Arsenal’s No1 this season after David Raya joined on loan from Brentford last summer.

The England goalkeeper, however, is due to start on Saturday when Arsenal host the Bees as Raya is ineligible to face his parent club.

The match will be Ramsdale’s first Premier League appearance since November, when Arsenal travelled to west London and Raya was again ineligible, and he is expected to leave Emirates Stadium this summer.

But there have been no talks over Ramsdale’s future yet, with Arteta insisting everyone is focused on Arsenal’s fight for the Champions League and Premier League.

“Now is the season, now is tomorrow, now is what we have done today and how can we improve tomorrow,” Arteta said. “And those talks are for much after, I think.”

Arsenal are looking to make it eight League wins in a row and a victory would take them top, with leaders Liverpool hosting Manchester City 24 hours later.

The title race is shaping up to go to the wire and the two-point gap between Arsenal and Liverpool is the narrowest between first and third at this stage of the season since May 2014.

The Gunners cannot afford to slip up and the pressure will be on Ramsdale, with the goalkeeper also looking to impress England manager Gareth Southgate ahead of this month’s friendlies Brazil and Belgium.

“He (Ramsdale) is fully prepared,” said Arteta. “He’s desperate to play, like the rest of the boys that haven’t had that many opportunities.

“He’s been brilliant. He’s been really supportive and pushing in training every day like I expected. It’s a joy to have two top goalkeepers in the team.

“One of the toughest things is dealing with the players that don’t have the game time they deserve. Not only Aaron, but there are many of those.

Ramsdale has lost his place to Raya this season (PA)
Ramsdale has lost his place to Raya this season (PA)

“We have an unbelievable group of players. We try to be straight, explain things, be close to them and give them support.

“Then when they have the opportunity, they want to contribute to the team in the best possible way. That’s what Aaron will want to do on Saturday.”

Arsenal head into the game in brilliant form in front of goal, scoring 31 times during this seven-game winning streak.

They are the first team in English top-flight history to score 30 or more goals in their first seven games of a calendar year.

The Gunners, nonetheless, want to bolster their attack this summer and Brentford striker Ivan Toney will have the chance tomorrow to show why they should move for him.

Arteta refused to comment on a possible move for Toney when asked on Thursday, but he did confirm the side’s recent goal rush won’t change the club’s transfer plans.

“The plans that we have for the summer are very clear,” he said. “They were done almost at the start of the season understanding what we can have, the contract situations with some players, and how we can improve certain areas of the team. This situation doesn’t change that.”

Bukayo Saka is expected to be fit for the game after coming off ill at half-time during Monday’s 6-0 thumping at Sheffield United.

Arteta is “pretty positive” that winger Gabriel Martinelli will be available too after he cut his foot and came off early at Bramall Lane as well.

Brentford have their own injury problems and Ben Mee became the latest casualty last week. They have lost 10 of their last 13 Premier League games and are being sucked into a relegation battle.

Arsenal face a huge three days as, after Brentford, they host Porto in the second of their last-16 Champions League tie.

Arteta will be hoping for a straight-forward afternoon against Brentford so he can get players off early ahead of Tuesday.