Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has claimed Mikel Arteta signed David Raya this summer in the hope of increasing the club’s chances of winning their first Premier League title in 20 years this season.
Arsenal initially signed Raya on a loan deal from Brentford for a fee of £3million however the Gunners have an option to buy the player for a total fee of £27million at the end of the season. The signing came as a shock to many as Mikel Arteta already had England international Aaron Ramsdale at his disposal.
Ramsdale had a very successful 2022/23 campaign and was a big reason why Arsenal find themselves back in the Champions League this season after a seven year absence.
Raya has since started both of Arsenals last two games and most notably in the Champions League on Wednesday night against PSV. This decision has left many questioning whether Ramsdale has a way back into the starting eleven and if having two top tier keepers at one club is a good idea.
However, Thierry Henry believes otherwise as he stated his take on the goalkeeping debate at Arsenal: “It’s not about who is right or who is wrong – Mikel Arteta is the coach. He sees David Raya as a guy that can win him the league. When he sold Bernd Leno, he saw Aaron Ramsdale as a guy that can help them get to the top four.
“When you play at a big club, competition will happen. Second of all, when you are a striker and a club gets one of the best strikers in the world to compete with you, does a striker cry because you might not feel comfortable because there is another guy that can take my position at half-time or after an hour?
“I can tell you it’s not easy as a striker to go on the field knowing that if you miss, in an hour someone will come on. It’s not about rotation. I don’t think Mikel wants to rotate. He went to get a goalkeeper that I think, and he thinks, is going to win him the league. There is no rotation there.
“Bernd Leno went through the same thing! When Ramsdale arrived, Arteta wanted a goalkeeper that could get him into the top four. I think he sees Raya as the guy that can get him to win the title and that’s why he plays him.”
Henry clearly stands firm in his belief that Raya was signed to be the number one keeper at Arsenal and after settling in he has now taken the spot off of Aaron Ramsdale. Whether Raya continues to start remains to be seen but with the Gunners in four different competitions this season there’s no doubt Aaron Ramsdale will still get a chance to prove his worth to Mikel Arteta.
The competition for the number one spot seems to be healthy so far with Mikel Arteta hoping the two keepers will push each other to greater heights than they’ve reached so far in their careers.