Arsenal are on the verge of sealing a deal to sign Dijon goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson after Emiliano Martinez completed his move to Aston Villa, according to Sky Sports News.
Martinez starred for Arsenal during the second half of last season while deputising for the injured Bernd Leno and he played a key role in the Gunners winning the FA Cup after putting-in a string of impressive performances.
The Argentinean now wants regular first team football but that’s not something Mikel Arteta can offer now that Leno is fit again so the 28-year-old has decided to join Villa in order to establish himself as a number one goalkeeper.
Sky Sports News says the deal is worth an initial £16m rising to £20m with add-ons which will boost Arsenal’s transfer kitty but Martinez’s exit means Arteta is now in the market for a replacement.
Runarsson emerged as a shock target when the The Telegraph reported on Sunday that Arsenal were in talks with Dijon over a £1.5m after goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana – who worked with Runarsson during their time together at Nordsjaelland – recommended him to Arteta.
Icelandic outlet DV 4-3-3 then claimed the keeper underwent a medical in London on Monday after agreeing terms over a five-year contract and Sky Sports News says the transfer is now on the verge of completion.
The news outlet says Arsenal hope to announce the deal ‘as soon as possible’ and hope to get Runarsson registered before midday on Friday so he’ll be available for Saturday’s clash with West Ham at the Emirates.
The Gunners had been looking at David Raya but Brentford were determined to hang on to the Spaniard after missing out on promotion last season so the north Londoners turned their attention to Runarsson instead.
The 25-year-old was in and out of the Dijon first team last season and has made just 36 appearances since joining the French outfit in 2018 so he doesn’t have a lot of first team experience in a top European league.
Runarsson was on the bench for Iceland’s recent Nations League games against England and Belgium but he hasn’t added to his 5 caps for his country since making his last appearance back in 2018.
This seems to be a risky signing from Arsenal as another serious injury to Leno this season would leave the north Londoners relying on an inexperienced Runarsson as their first choice goalkeeper.
However, Arteta is hoping to strengthen his midfield so spending just £1.5m on a Martinez replacement should mean he has more funds to put towards a move for the likes of Thomas Partey or Houssem Aouar.