Mikel Arteta says the decision to sell Emi Martinez to Aston Villa was taken for a variety of reasons and that he considers it ‘part of the past’ despite questions over the viability of replacement Alex Runarsson.
It’s no secret that the Gunners had a tough choice to make last summer when deciding which of our two keepers to retain. Ultimately, the club kept faith with Bernd Leno and used the £20 million raised from the Argentine’s sale to help fund other transfer business.
One of those deals was the budget-friendly acquisition of Runarsson from French side Dijon.
Signed for £1 million on the advice of keeper coach Inaki Cana, who’d work with him previously in Denmark, the Iceland international represented a calculated risk. Unfortunately, on last night’s showing against Manchester City, he looks a little out of his depth.
Unsurprisingly, the boss was again forced to revisit the thinking behind Martinez’s exit; a topic he’s touched on repeatedly.
“There’s no point having any regrets,” he said in his post-game press conference.
“There’s different reasons why we had to do that transaction. We did it and it’s a part of the past.
“He had a really good few months last season and he really helped us and obviously when our goalkeeper makes an error, these things are going to come up.”
Having spilt a routine free-kick by Riyad Mahrez and shown questionable positioning and distribution during the 4-1 defeat to Manchester City, Runarsson faces an uphill battle to regain the trust of the boss and the fans.
“We win and lose together and Alex has played other games,” said Arteta on the decision to include the new boy for a clash with high-calibre opponents.
“We decided to play him tonight for many reasons and that responsibility is for all of us.”
Now that we’re out of the Carabao Cup and face stiff tests against Newcastle and Benfica in the FA Cup and Europa League respectively, it’s fair to expect that Leno will be playing a lot of games. We can only hope he stays fit.