Arsenal technical director Edu encouraged Mikel Arteta to abandon a move for Aaron Ramsdale due to Sheffield United’s massive asking price and wanted to pursue a cheaper alternative, according to reports.
The Gunners were the biggest spenders in the Premier League over the summer, splurging more than £150million on new arrivals, and the £30m fee for Ramsdale raised some eyebrows.
Despite the shot-stopper suffering relegation in successive seasons, Arsenal agreed to pay £24m up front plus a further £6m in easily achievable add-ons which will make Ramsdale the joint-most expensive British goalkeeper ever.
But it appears not everyone at Arsenal was entirely convinced that the 23-year-old was worth spending so much money on.
According to The Athletic, the north London club’s interest in Ramsdale was driven predominantly by Arteta and when Sheffield United dug in over their demands Edu suggested an alternative.
The Brazilian and his team of scouts felt there were cheaper options who could do a similar job and proposed moving for Barcelona’s backup goalkeeper Neto instead.
Barca – who are in a difficult financial position – were prepared to accept a fee of around £12m for the Brazilian shot-stopper, which is half the upfront fee Arsenal spent on Ramsdale.
But Arteta was adamant that he wanted the Englishman, who was part of Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad, and managed to convince the club to negotiate a deal with Sheffield United that makes Ramsdale the fifth most expensive keeper ever.
But Arsenal are pretty relaxed about the outlay and feel that the English premium they paid works both ways, with the club likely to get a decent fee for Ramsdale should he ever leave.
The club feel that there are few young goalkeepers who can match Ramsdale for experience, with the former Bournemouth man having played more top-flight minutes than any other goalkeeper in Europe aged 23 or under, and expect him to become a mainstay in the side for many years to come.
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