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Arsenal have not given up hope of signing Brentford goalkeeper David Raya despite the Championship club refusing to entertain any offers and believe they may have found a compromise.
The Gunners confirmed the departure of Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa on Wednesday, leaving Mikel Arteta in need of a new backup keeper to be understudy to Bernd Leno.
Spanish shot-stopper Raya, who counts as homegrown having moved to Blackburn as a teenager, is top of their list of replacements, but Brentford are prepared to resist any offers.
Manager Thomas Frank said his number one was ‘not for sale’ last week, though Arsenal remain interested and are considering a new approach to convince Brentford to come to the negotiating table.
According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, Arsenal are willing to sign Raya for a big fee now and then loan him back to Brentford for the 2020/21 season. That would solve Brentford’s fears over losing another key player this summer and allow them to keep their number one, while they would also land a sizeable fee.
Of course, Arsenal would still need to sign a short-term backup goalkeeper for the current campaign, which is where Icelandic shot-stopper Runar Alex Runarsson comes in. The Dijon keeper will only command a fee of around £1.5million and is well known to Arsenal’s goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana, who worked with him at Nordsjaelland.
Even with a deal completed for Runarsson now, they are still likely to pursue Raya and then loan him back to Brentford – though after landing a big fee for Ollie Watkins, the Championship side are not in need of money and will only accept a large offer.
Arteta is also in the market for a new midfielder and it is hoped the sale of Martinez, and possible departures of other players such as Lucas Torreira, will raise enough funds to sign either Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid or Lyon’s Houssem Aouar.