Runar Runarsson – Are Arsenal just taking the cheap option once again?

Are Arsenal Taking The Cheap Option Again? by Dan Smith

Emiliano Martinez moved to England at the age of 18 so his dream most of his adult life was to be Arsenal’s number One. Since June onwards the Argentine could not have done more to convince people he’s better than Leno.

The strange irony is; had Leno never got injured, Martinez never played, and never had been such a huge part in us winning the FA Cup, he would still have a future at the Emirates. It seems backwards that by playing so well has cost him his Gunners career.

Of course the 16 -20 million Aston Villa are willing to pay is a major reason. At a time when clubs don’t know when they are getting match-day revenue that’s a lot of money for someone who might be sitting on the bench most weekends.

Whether he stayed or left, Martinez will be rewarded for his form with a substantial pay rise, but in some ways he has become a victim of his own success. The classic ‘too big to be small but too small to be big’ situation.

Clearly his employers wanted him to be good enough to stand in for Leno while the German recovered from his injury, but they didn’t want him to be so great that it caused a selection headache.

Arteta claims he’s happy to have two talents battling for one spot, but whether the Spaniard didn’t reassure him enough, or the player lacked the self-belief to bet on himself to succeed, Martinez strangely got closer and closer to the exit door with each passing world class performance.

While he was offered a contract extension, Arsenal didn’t need to sell. There were still a few years left on his existing deal so if the priority was having two top keepers, we didn’t need to take the money. We did because, when push comes to shove, making our billionaire owner profit will always take precedent over what’s best on the pitch.

Which sends a strange message to the likes of Matt Macey. Develop so you’re good enough to play for a club our size but we will sell you if you become too good.

That could explain why reports are suggesting that the recruitment team are now preferring Runar Runarsson to Brentford’s David Raya. The key difference is one cost 1.5 million the other over the 10 million mark.

Runarsson is Dijon’s back-up keeper, so logic would say he will be happier for the same role at a club with a bigger profile. Raya meanwhile plays every week in the Championship so would have long term ambitions of starting every week in the League.

So from a business point of view, you can pay over 10 million for a potential headache or take 1.5 million out of the money you’re about to get from Villa, for someone content to be a substitute and tell Stan Kroenke how you yet again saved him some money.

That would be okay if Arsenal (like a lot of clubs) hadn’t adopted a policy of having a ‘cup keeper’. If you insist on having someone different between the posts for Cup games, you need someone who has to be at a certain standard, because the cups are particularly important to the Gunners and remain our most likely route to silverware.

At a minimum, a ‘cup keeper’ will be asked to play 6 times in Europe, once in the League Cup and once in the FA Cup. That’s if you went out of those competitions at the first stage. If you used the last campaign as a forecast, we played 16 matches that were not in the Premiership.

So if I’m a Raya, I’m going to pick playing in the cups for Arsenal compared to in the second level of English Football as a quicker route to prove I belong at the highest level. Yet do Arsenal want that? Or are they yet again prioritizing value over what’s best for the squad?

That’s not a disrespect to Runarsson who clearly has quality and I accept is a goalie we have scouted for a while, as we have Raya. Yet the numbers suggest Raya is better.

Raya played 46 times last season, having played nearly 200 times for Blackburn.

Runarsson isn’t first choice for either his club or country.

You could argue that the lower Leagues doesn’t mean Raya has proved himself, but it means he knows the country and I would argue getting 3rd in the Championship as first choice is better than finishing 16th in Ligue One and not being first choice.

We all know the numbers Arsenal are looking at. The 1.5million Dijon have to take as they were badly hit by Football being canceled in France from March.

These are the little details why I feel we won’t challenge for the title again with the current ownership.

If I had to bet, I reckon Arteta rates Raya over Runarsson (we have coaches who have worked with him) but is smart enough to pick his battles. Who is Leno’s understudy isn’t Arteta’s his hill to die on?

Yet it could be a crucial decision come the knockout stages of the FA Cup or Europa League, if what has cost us is not spending that extra few quid on a proven goalie. We are going to get 16-20 million for one keeper. Spend 10 of that you get a keeper your manager has asked for.

Do you think Man City would cough up 10 million?

Would that be too expensive for a Man United?

Do you think Chelsea would find a cheaper option?

It’s funny. I swore I heard that we only made 55 staff redundant so we could improve the squad.

I guess the 2 million a year Silent Stan saves on their annual wage would pay for Runarsson.
So what happens to the Martinez money?

Oh wait …. that pays for the majority of Gabriel’s fee.

Meanwhile at the Bridge, they spent nearly 200 million…

Dan Smith

Tags Runar Runarsson


  1. The cheapest option will be promoting Matt Macey or Dejan Iliev to the first team, who deserve some chances in cup games. Recruiting a new GK to be Leno’s competitor will send a bad message to our academy GKs

    We shouldn’t forget that Arsenal spent 200+ M in a span of several seasons:
    – To recruit expensive players, such as Sokratis, Leno, Aubameyang/ Lacazette in a single season, Torreira, Tierney, Saliba, Pepe and Magalhaes
    – To pay huge wages of some high profile players, such as Ozil, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Luiz and Willian

    Arsenal have to be careful in spending, to comply with FFP and to balance the books. They also need to trim down the squad, which is highly imbalanced with eight CBs in first team

    1. Spot on! gotanidea

      But there are speculations that MM is leaving as he has refused to extend his contract with us and as for Dejan, maybe he is not ready yet.

        1. gotanidea, Matt Macey in a recent interview with the Telegraph, stated that he is looking to leave to be #1 at another club.
          By the way, Emi Martinez is on a reported wage of £75k per week on a 4 year contract. Given he was on £20k per week at Arsenal, the move is paying off for him.

    2. And brought lots of that money back in mate
      In that same period you.claim 200 million spent , watch this off top of my head – ox , Walcott , iwobi, , monreal , Koscilney, ospina , Szchesney, gabriel., Coquelin, bilic, , gibbs, jenkinson , Perez, Andelade

      Huge wages ? Off top of head again
      Here’s who we got off wage bill in last few years …..
      Ramsey , welbeck , Wilshire , cech , Sanchez , Mykhataryan

      He then is asking players to take pay cuts and sacking 55staff
      All of this to finish in our worst position in 25 years
      As I write this , Everton have spent more then us , Newcastle the same amount

    3. The fact we have eight CB’s tell an alarming story of how badly we have bought over the last few years.

      To be honest, If I were Big Stan, I would be very careful about allowing the club to spend on players who have obviously been mistakes or inadequate. I guess that is why we have seen the restructuring?

      As for our keeper situation. It’s always difficult with keepers. Martinez deserves regular game time. He’s too good. The problem for us will be if Leno gets injured again. Whoever steps in will need to be good enough although I’m confident our defence is in much better shape now than ever to protect whoever is between the sticks. This was not about money though. It was about the player wanting to progress.

      1. The cheapest option would have been to sell Leno who earns more than Martinez and would command a higher transfer fee.

        So no, Arsenal didnt take the cheapest option.

      2. Hold on let’s look at facts. Mari was bought in mid season to cover for our injury till. Chambers isn’t a centreback so he doesn’t count, Saliba was bought last year but loaned back to club and Gabriel was just bought in but we ALWAYS had to sell 2-3 knowing Saliba was coming and with Gabriel signing. It wasn’t bad business at all it was bringing in now who Arteta wants and trying to move players which in Sokratis, Mustafi and Chambers the club are trying to do which will leave us in your math with 5 centre backs.

      3. Martinez demanded he be first choice which in Artetas eyes doesn’t fit what he is doing. Arteta wanted him to stay and fight for his spot but he didn’t want to. It was his job to lose and instead of staying and doing just that he decided to go for higher wages to a club that just narrowly avoided relegation. This crap that going to villa will give him a better chance of being Argentina’s number one keeper??? Please!!! How’s playing for a team fighting to stay up, leaking goals and losing going to help his cause???

        1. What happens if buying Martenez, re signing Grealish and upgrading the squad, means Aston Villa are lifted away from the relegation places.
          Martinez has the opportunity to play every week in the EPL, earning £65k per week, putting himself in the window of the Argentine selectors, at least until Heaton returns. The alternative was to sit on the bench at the Arsenal.

  2. What if we take the cheap option?
    I reckon the club can never win, it is the worst kept secret that we need money to get our targets and on top of that, we need to sell to buy whilst also creating space in the team.
    I know that sometimes, to get quality, you have to spend good money but you can also get good players on the cheap.
    Holding was 2m remember…Kepa was 70m+ and they are talking about replacing him with someone that won’t cost half of Kepa’s price-surely they should have gone for someone that would cost 100m to guarantee quality huh?

    The manager clearly wants to further strengthen his team but he needs money from player sales, I am personally okay with the decision.

    That said, Runar is a good goalie and he is 25, meaning he is just starting- he will definitely improve so there is nothing to worry about.


  3. Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson is close to joining Arsenal.

    He will sign a five-year contract with Arsenal & is undergoing a medical today.

    As I said on here last week 🙂

    1. The club is also looking at young Portuguese keeper Ricardo Van der laan to bring in and develop as well. Seeing Martinez go and Macey wanting out maybe a overhaul is what’s needed. Runa and Macey this season and bring the young Portuguese or Iliev through next season.

  4. Dan, do you honestly believe that Kroenke had any input into the selling of Martinez and the buying of Runarsson? He pays good money to others to supposedly manage such day to day issues
    A little investigation has shown that your conspiracy theory does not hold water. According to the Daily Cannon, Runar Runarsson was recommended to Mikel Arteta by Arsenal’s goal keeping coach Inaki Cana, who had worked with Runarsson at FC Nordsjaelland. If Arteta is prepared to accept Cana’s recommendation why wouldn’t we?
    By the way Matt Macey has recently told the Telegraph, that he wants to pursue his desire to be a #1 goal keeper at another club, due to the lack of opportunities at Arsenal.

    1. True, the same arm chair pundits, keyboard warriors, bashing anybody on this planet except their golden boy, oh where was he this weekend? Nevertheless, I always said that if we need to win, keep him away from the first team.
      What if Runar turns out to be an Emi in disguise waiting to showcase his talents? If his transfer fee can be negotiated a bit lower then why not try that option if Mat has plans to leave? We also have good keepers in the academy – Illev, Arthur Okonkwo and James Hilson too. Too much negativity spewed over here.

  5. Runarsson was identified whilst we were scouting another Dijon player.
    Our gk coach Inaki Cana also recommended him. Leno has spoken of the impact Cana has had since joining us in December. Which means he’ll surely improve Runarsson and at €2m he could turn out to be an absolute steal!!
    Plus, more importantly we’ll have cash to bolster our midfield – yes I mean you TP!!

  6. I believe Koronke sets a remit yes
    I also believe there are countless examples where he could make that next step.but doesn’t

  7. We are now in “fund raising” mode for Aouar / Partey.

    I have an “inkling” the money will be spent on Aouar, with Elneny being retained.

    1. AJ, why did Vinai and Edu publicly state that Arsenal don’t have to sell to buy? Is it more about the number of home and non home grown players, than money?

      1. Finally some common sense. Why do you think the club has pursued swap deals also? To make room for the new signings!!! Why do people not understand this?

  8. Oh Dan, always moaning about how much we spend.
    I bet if you were in charge, every single player from the bench down to the last player on the pitch would individually worth up to 50M.
    I dong see the sense in making 20M from a backup GK sale and spending half of it on ANOTHER BACKUP GK. Make it make sense Dan, and you’re aware there are priorities all over the place for the coach

    1. I’m moaning mate because we finished 8th and despite having a billionaire owner for nearly a decade have been stingy
      The teams who finished above us seem to be spending more

      1. The billionaire so far has clearly shown he’s not interested in investing in the team, so tell me what’s the point in complaining everyday when it’s falling on deaf ears? Also why are you questioning the decisions of those in charge right now?
        Really tell me you don’t think spending 10M on a backup GK is wise, because there’s nothing wise about that

          1. Runa was recommended to Arteta by our goal keeper coach. I’d assume it’s job to know what a good keeper looks like yeah? I’d definately tske his knowledge over yours that’s for sure and at his price I’m more then happy to see him come in and rest Leno especially if it means bringing in two world class players in Aouar and Partey.

  9. We sold Martinez to raise funds to buy key players, spending half of it on hos replacement completely negates any point in selling him you fool.
    We already have a 40 million pound German international as number 1. A cheap backup is fine.

    1. Plus we need 18 million to pay Ozil’s wages! I’m feeling exteremly sad because Emi had to go to pay that fat wage for a good for nothing player, a decision made by Arsene (I was ecstatic the day he got sacked!)

  10. There is a difference between spending and spending wisely. Man City have still not won the CL with money they have spent on players, they were beaten by low spending Lyon in the quarter finals, and it is not likely Chelsea will win the CL by spending in excess of 200 mpounds. If Runar Runnarson is joining Arsenal than it is certainly with the stamp of Arteta. The shape of the defence, the formation, the tactics and the strategy of defending as a unit is also very important in the PL, otherwise with the most expensive GK ever, how could one explain the fact Chelsea onceeded the most number of goals amongst the top teams in the last season?

      1. And we are spending 18 million worth wages and what did we get? One fluke goal due to a goalkeeping error? Without the Rolls Royce , did we not win the FA & CS?

          1. Squad improvement is what selling Martinez was for. Spending half on his replacement gets us nowhere but spending 2 million on a replacement and spending 18 towards Aouar or Partey sounds good to me

  11. The good news is Runar is a lifelong “GOONER”.

    A boyhood Arsenal fan who is now feverishly deleting tweets posted when things started going belly up insulting a certain ……………………..


    🙂 🙂

  12. I really don’t know this Runarsson so i cant say if he’s any good.
    what I will say is that Macey and Illiev are not good enough, not yet atleast!
    Getting 20m for Martinez is good business
    1.5 on a back up seems good business, especially when we need the extra cash for midfielders such as Partey and Aouar.
    I myself would sign Partey over Aouar first and see how the rest of the window goes with outgoings and how much cash we can generate.
    It is important to remember that the players we have currently beat the likes of City, Pool ( twice ) and Chelsea and that is down to the manager and his coaching staff.

    1. Val, please read my post or the original article in the Daily Cannon regarding Runarsson and goal keeping coach Inaki Cana.

    2. I’d like to see Aouar first to be fair. We need a creative midfielder desperately if we are to put up a challenge. As good as Partey will be for us we have players now that are doing that job well but we lack players that can make things happen and Aouar will give us that.

  13. Very wise decision. Despite Arteta’s attempt to convince Martinez that being a backup GK is the same as being a backup FB, it’s not.

    I’d much rather the club channeled resources into areas we need improvement in, which appears to be the logic of the club too.

    We’d all like money trees but I’m personally proud of our attempts to run a self-sustaining recruitment model, and have even been surprised with levels invested in recent years despite some awful decisions.

  14. I live near Brentford and as well as going to watch them three to four times a year I also follow their live matches on TV.

    Raya is too short and makes too many mistakes. He’s an above average shot-stopper, dodgy on crosses, and his positioning was exposed in the play-offs where he cost Brentford a vital goal.

    I’m ecstatic that Arsenal are not spending £10 million plus on him. This has nothing to do with owners. If Leno gets injured then one of the other goalkeepers has to step up. If he’s not good enough we pull them out and move to the next in line.

    Karl Hein (18), made his debut for the full Estonian National Team last week. He looks brilliant, and is my bet on being Arsenal’s next no.1 after Leno. I don’t think the others will make it at the club.

    The money coming in is best reinvested in Aouar or Partey. Personally, I’d be happy with Dominik Szoboszlai and Boubakary Soumaré, which we should be able to get for £50m in total.

    1. Good one Tony. I like Soumare a lot. He is also much younger than Partey. Also don’t think we will splash 100M on Partey and Aouar.

  15. Why should arsenal sell emi if more than half of the money would be spent on buying replacement??
    chill man i am having more trust in our scouting and management team right now.
    and arsenal goalkeepers coach i guess recomended both gk is claim to have work with both of them.
    money aint talent man so atleast be positive

  16. ffP is a joke!

    staN has not spent a dime.

    We are in for a cheap, short keeper, who will be average at best.


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