Brentford boss Thomas Frank has said that David Raya’s imminent transfer to Arsenal is ‘fine for us’. Here is why the Bees will let the goalkeeper move to Mikel Arteta’s side.
The Gunners are on the verge of making Raya their latest signing this summer as Arteta bids to build a title-winning side. Arsenal have already welcomed Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice to Emirates Stadium. But Arteta wants a serious rival in goal to Aaron Ramsdale.
It only took Ramsdale two games to replace Bernd Leno as Arteta’s first choice following his transfer in 2021. He has since remained the undisputed number one in north London. While Leno moved to Fulham in 2022 and Matt Turner has just joined Nottingham Forest for £10m.
What has Thomas Frank said about David Raya leaving Brentford?
Raya will give Ramsdale a much tougher time than Turner ever managed once Brentford and Arsenal finalise his transfer. Luca Bendoni now claims that Raya’s agent, Jaume Munell, is on his way to London on Wednesday. He is set to sign off on the Spaniard’s five-year contract.
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Brentford and Arsenal have also agreed on a £28m fee for Raya as the Spain stopper nears a switch. The Bees had initially hoped to get £40m, per the Daily Mail, as Bayern Munich were also in the running. While Frank went on record last week admitting that Raya could move.
“I hope [we get a good bid as] we are waiting to sell,” Frank said, via quotes by Goal. “David would like to go. That’s fine for us. If a club want to buy [him], they just need to find out the price. I guess it should be simple but, apparently, it’s very difficult.”
Why David Raya’s transfer makes sense for Arsenal
Brentford accepted Raya’s decision to target a transfer away amid interest from Arsenal and Bayern Munich as the two-cap international is in the final year of his contract. The Spaniard signed a four-year extension in October 2020 but has not sought to renew his terms since.
Raya will now likely rival Ramsdale to become Arteta’s number one at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners coach will give his compatriot no guarantees of replacing the England international in north London. But Raya’s transfer from Brentford makes a great deal of sense for Arsenal.
Arteta has just let Turner move to Nottingham Forest for an initial £7m plus £3m in add-ons. The USA international’s departure leaves a void between the sticks at Emirates Stadium that must be filled. But Raya offers far more than only a replacement for an out-of-favour player.
Turner was never likely to challenge Ramsdale or give Arsenal a reliable replacement should the 25-year-old ever sustain an injury. As while the 29-year-old is solid as a shot-stopper, his ability on the ball would have forced Arteta to change how Arsenal operate with Ramsdale.
David Raya is much more than Matt Turner’s replacement
Having a goalkeeper who can play with the ball at their feet is fundamental to how Arteta’s team plays. But Turner never appeared anywhere near as comfortable in his seven outings for the Gunners. Yet Raya is not only comfortable with the ball but he can rival Ramsdale.
No goalkeeper in the Premier League attempted more passes than Raya (1,475) in 2022/23, per WhoScored. Ramsdale (934) ranked in 10th place and also ranked below Raya (486) for completed short passes (454). Raya also topped the chart for accurate long passes on 410.
Everton’s Jordan Pickford offered the second-most long passes among all top-flight shot-stoppers in 22/23 with 294. Ramsdale (138) only ranked in 13th having misplaced 334 to the 564 Raya misplaced. Raya only wasted 15 short passes to the eight that Ramsdale spurned.