Martin Keown is hoping that the signing of Brighton goalkeeper Matt Ryan does not spell a premature end to Runar Alex Runarsson’s Arsenal career, as he told talkSPORT (22 January, 11:00am).
In truth, this seemed like a rather strange addition from day one.
When Arsenal signed Runarsson from Dijon last summer, you would have been forgiven for assuming this was an up-and-coming youngster viewed as one for the future in North London.
Instead, Runarrsson is 25 and, if he couldn’t force his way into a Dijon team who finished 16th in Ligue 1 last term, what chance did the Iceland international have of stepping into Emi Martinez’s boots?
After that disastrous, error-strewn performance in December’s 4-1 EFL Cup thumping at Manchester City, Runarsson has now been demoted from second to third in Arsenal’s pecking order with Australia international Ryan parachuted in on a short-term basis.
Runarsson is also expected to leave on loan as he looks to rebuild his confidence away from the Premier League.
But Keown is not ready yet to give up on the Reykjavik-born shot-stopper.
“I hope not!” the Arsenal legend said when asked if Runarsson had played his final game for the club. “He’s only a young man and he wasn’t ready for the opportunity.
“Lets hope he comes back much improved.
“(Bringing in Ryan) is a good adjustment; 49 caps for Australia, he’s coming with good experience and that’s what Arsenal need in the event that (Bernd) Leno gets injured at any point.”
Arsenal fans may be a little disappointed to see the club sign a man who had struggled for game-time at relegation-threatened Brighton but it must be remembered that, not so long ago, Ryan was viewed as one of the Premier League’s most reliable goalkeepers.
He is pretty useful with the ball at his feet too, meaning the boyhood Arsenal fan should fit nicely in a Gunners side who like to start attacks from their own six-yard box.