Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s decision to recruit David Raya on loan from Brentford is underpinned by a desire to make the club “better every single day” and to ensure he has optimal cover between the sticks.
The Gunners wrapped up a swift deal for the Spaniard earlier this week and, following the departure of Matt Turner to Nottingham Forest, the new arrival is now expected to challenge Aaron Ramsdale for the number one shirt.
The scenario has raised eyebrows in some quarters with people questioning whether it could destabilise the England international just after he committed his long-term future to the club.
In Arteta’s mind, it makes total sense to have two quality keepers, both capable of playing the type of football he wants. He also believes that Jurrien Timber’s ACL injury last weekend underlines just how fragile the squad-building process can be.
Asked what Raya brings to the table, Arteta said: “Better qualities for our game model, very simple. And we want two players per position, that they can do that.
“You saw what happened to Jurrien, it can happen to our goalkeeper, it happened to [Real Madrid’s Thibaut] Courtois. So you need to be prepared.
“The question may be, ‘What is it with two goalkeepers of this size?’ But if Aaron were to sustain a cruciate [knee ligament injury], then what do you say? You then change the thing. So we have to be prepared, we have to be proactive.
“We have two excellent goalkeepers now that fit exactly what we want in our model. So I’m very happy with that.”
He also hinted that raising the level of competition for Aaron Ramsdale merely reflects what he’s been doing in other areas of the pitch.
“I understand [the questions about having two top keepers], but there are always questions.
“When we had different goalkeepers there were questions as well. So for me to have two excellent goalkeepers is great. There is nothing wrong. Of course, there is nothing wrong.
“We have two great left wingers and two great strikers and two great holding midfielders. So we have Jorginho, we have Thomas [Partey], we have Declan [Rice]. So, that is not a problem and it should not be a problem.
“We want to be better every single day. And to be better the environment has to change and the environment has to be better every single day. We tend to be always at a certain level because it’s in our nature.
“When you change the environment, and the environment is to be 100% every day, believe me, the level is going to increase. And I’ve seen that with my closed eyes, with the players that we have now, and what we had two years ago. So we want to be better, we have to create that environment.”