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Arsenal 'decide to make David Raya deal permanent'

Arsenal 'decide to make David Raya deal permanent'
© Reuters
Arsenal reportedly decide to sign David Raya from Brentford permanently at the end of the season and will trigger the £27m buy option in his loan contract.

Arsenal have reportedly decided to sign Brentford goalkeeper David Raya permanently when his loan deal comes to an end in 2024.

Despite already possessing England international Aaron Ramsdale and a competent backup in Matt Turner, Mikel Arteta still sought added competition for the gloves over the summer window.

After Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur decided not to pursue a deal for Raya - apparently due to Brentford's £40m demands for a player in the final year of his deal - Arsenal struck an agreement to take him on loan for the upcoming campaign.

The Gunners are said to have paid a £3m loan fee for the Spain international, who signed a new contract with Brentford before heading to North London in order to protect his value, and his arrival allowed Turner to join Nottingham Forest permanently.

Rather than lose Raya for nothing in 2024, Brentford negotiated a £27m buy option with Arsenal after extending Raya's contract for another season, and all parties have expected that fee to be triggered next year.

Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya pictured on September 17, 2023© Reuters

According to Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal have definitively decided to keep Raya on the books after the end of the campaign, and the 28-year-old has already agreed to a long-term contract.

Brentford are said to have accepted such a structure to help Arsenal comply with Financial Fair Play regulations, as the Gunners had already shelled out over £200m on the signings of Jurrien Timber, Declan Rice and Kai Havertz.

Raya's arrival at the Emirates raised several eyebrows, as the former Blackburn Rovers man would provide intense competition to Ramsdale rather than simply playing second fiddle to the Englishman, who had won over the Gunners fanbase.

Raya was initially kept on the bench, but the Bees loanee was introduced into the starting XI following the September international break and has restricted Raya to EFL Cup appearances ever since.

The Spaniard has six clean sheets to show from his first 12 games for Arsenal across the Premier League and Champions League, although a few shaky moments have led to criticism of Arteta's decision to complicate the goalkeeping situation.

Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale pictured in September 2023© Reuters

However, the Arsenal boss has kept faith with his compatriot in the face of scepticism due to Raya's perceived superior footwork, and he has only conceded six Premier League goals since joining the club.

Raya's run of successive Premier League starts will come to an end in Saturday's clash with Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium, though, as the shot-stopper cannot face his parent club in the London derby.

As a result, Ramsdale is expected to be brought back into the XI for his first Premier League start since September 3's 3-1 win over Manchester United, since when he has only appeared against the Bees and West Ham United in the EFL Cup.

Ramsdale's father recently admitted that his son had lost his "smile" after losing his place in Arteta's starting lineup while criticising the way that the Arsenal head coach went about the change in between the sticks, which could impact his chances of a Euro 2024 call-up.

Chelsea and Bayern Munich are both said to be keeping tabs on Ramsdale's situation, but the England international is not expected to make a decision on his future until the end of the season.

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