Aaron Ramsdale: Sheffield United omit goalkeeper from matchday squad with Arsenal transfer close

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Aaron Ramsdale has been left out of Sheffield United’s squad to face West Brom as he closes in on a move to Arsenal.

The England goalkeeper was absent from Slavisa Jokanovic’s matchday 18 for Wednesday night’s high-profile Championship clash at The Hawthorns, with Dutch understudy Michael Verrips making his first league start for the Blades instead and Wes Foderingham on the bench.

Ramsdale’s omission comes in the wake of fresh reports that Arsenal are on the verge of finalising an agreement with Sheffield United over his signature.

According to The Athletic, the Gunners will pay an initial £24million plus a potential further £6m in add-ons for Ramsdale, who will be offered a four-year contract that includes the option for an additional 12 months.

“We felt he’s not ready for the game tonight,” Jokanovic told Sky Sports ahead Wednesday’s match. “We take the decision not to use him.”

Asked if a move was coming, he added: “He’s simply not in the right state of mind and we prefer not to complicate things.”

Arsenal - also set to secure the permanent return of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid in a £30m deal - have been searching for a new goalkeeper to act as competition, cover and potentially a long-term successor to current undisputed first-choice Bernd Leno, whose contract at Emirates Stadium is due to expire in the summer of 2023.

Former Brighton loanee Mat Ryan joined LaLiga’s Real Sociedad in July, while Iceland international Alex Runarsson has failed to impress since arriving from Dijon last summer.

19-year-old Karl Hein was on the bench for Arsenal’s Premier League opener against Brentford last Friday night, while fellow teenager Arthur Okonkwo has also been promoted to the first-team squad.

Ramsdale, meanwhile, returned to boyhood club Sheffield United from Bournemouth in an £18.5m deal last summer, appearing in all 38 league matches across the 2020/21 campaign but failing to avoid successive top-flight relegations.

A regular for England through the age groups up to and including Under-21 level, the 23-year-old was later named in the Three Lions’ provisional 33-man squad for the rescheduled European Championship.

While he did not make the final cut, Ramsdale was eventually drafted into Gareth Southgate’s group as a replacement for the injured Dean Henderson, though did not play and has yet to make his senior England debut.

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