Arsenal have acted quickly to replace Emi Martinez and solve our backup goalkeeper problem, with the cut-price move for Icelandic stopper, Runar Alex Runarsson.
Runarsson has been signed from Ligue Un club Dijon, for a nominal fee of around £1.8m. This means that the majority of the Martinez fee we received has been saved.
So, what do we know about our third new signing of this window, that hasn’t already been revealed?
Runarsson is 25 and made his debut for KR Reykjavik in the 2014/15 season and moved from there to Denmark. He developed his game playing for FC Nordsjaelland, before joining Dijon in 2018, and has made 45 appearances in that time with the French club. He has also been capped five times for Iceland.
It is perhaps more telling about Runarsson, deriving things from what Edu and Arteta had to say about the Iceland goalkeeper.
Our Technical Director said “We’re very pleased to welcome Alex to our squad. We have been monitoring him for some time and from the analysis, he has strong attributes that we look for in a goalkeeper and as a person.”
Arteta went further, saying “We want to create healthy competition for places and we look forward to seeing Alex bring further depth to the goalkeeping position.”
So it is abundantly clear that Runarsson will back Leno – and that leaves Matt Macey looking at other options.
The kicker with signing Runarsson is his ability on the ball, as Runarsson so eloquently says about his skills “I would say I'm a modern goalkeeper,” Runarsson told Arsenal.com. “It is one of my best attributes that I'm comfortable with my feet, I can play with my right and left foot, I am not afraid to play as a sweeper and I am good one against one.”
Runarsson worked with our goalkeeping coach, Inaki Cana, while in Denmark, so it makes sense that Arteta’s man informed the Spaniard of Runarsson’s talents. Runarsson is also known for his shot-stopping and being just over six feet and an inch, coming for crosses should be well within his grasp – excuse the pun.
So we now have decent backup for Leno, and he will take the Number13 shirt.
Welcome to the club, Alex!