(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
This morning, Arsenal announced the signing of Australian goalkeeper Maty Ryan on a 6-month loan until the end of this season. A surprise to all Arsenal fans, the 28-year-old had not been linked to the club prior to his announcement- a rare change from the regular weeks of transfer saga before we sign our targets!
As far as I see it, this deal makes complete sense. Our summer signing Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson has proven, in the little minutes he has played, that he’s out of his depth at Arsenal, so the signing of a new backup goalkeeper was absolutely essential this January, to provide cover in case of another injury to Bernd Leno. Mat Ryan fulfils most of the attributes that we need within our backup goalkeeper. He is experienced (has over 100 Premier League appearances at Brighton), as well as being a low-risk signing because it is only a 6-month loan. If he performs well for us, we will have the option to sign him for free in the summer, as he will be a free agent. If he doesn’t warrant a permanent move, we can part ways with him, and target a different goalkeeper for the long term. Low risk, decent reward. I am not against this deal for that particular reason.
The club seem pleased to have addressed our goalkeeping problem. When questioned about the signing, Mikel Arteta released the following statement: “We know Mat very well through his performances with Brighton in recent seasons and he brings additional quality to our squad. Mat has very good Premier League experience and has played over 100 times in the league, which is something that will benefit us greatly on and off the pitch. We welcome Mat to Arsenal and look forward to working with him this season.”
Also showing his support for the signing was Technical Director Edu Gaspar, who added that: “Mat is an experienced goalkeeper, a proven talent in the Premier League and has also played many internationals for Australia. Mat will further strengthen our squad with his experience and knowledge of playing at the highest level. Following Matt Macey’s recent move to Hibernian, Mat will provide very good competition and positive support to all our goalkeepers and we are looking forward to him integrating quickly into the set-up here at Arsenal.”
The player, who claims he was a passionate Arsenal fan as a child, seems elated to make the move to Arsenal: “All those mornings as a young kid in Australia, getting up to watch the [Arsenal] Champions League games at 4 o’clock in the morning when I had school. To now be here fills me with a great sense of pride and achievement.” He went on to say that joining Arsenal is “simply a dream come true”, and he “never thought [it] would become a reality, but [he is] very thankful that it has”. Clearly a man with a passion for the club, who is honoured to wear the Arsenal shirt. Hopefully, his motivation will to be as good as possible for the club he supports, so to earn a longer contract in North London.
The reality is that Mat Ryan has been poor for Brighton this season and the end of last, and lost his starting place at the club. However, I do think there is a solid goalkeeper within him. To play consistently over a course of several seasons in the Premier League, you have to have some sort of credentials. In his time at the top flight of English football, he has averaged 3 saves per game and a 66% save success in a shaky Brighton side. Far from awful stats.
While he will almost certainly never play in the Premier League bar an injury to the nailed-on Bernd Leno, but Ryan will offer good cover in cup competitions- and will be an experienced player within the dressing room. This transfer is smart from Arsenal in my eyes, as I mentioned before; there is a low risk, it is a cheap move, it is only short-term and therefore can be reassessed in the summer. I am perfectly happy with this move from Arsenal, as the backup goalkeeper position was essential to fill this window, and we have done so successfully.
I wish nothing but the best of luck for Maty Ryan over the next six months, and hopefully he will be a successful signing that can become longer term in the summer. We could see the Australian commence his Arsenal career as early as tomorrow, because he has been registered in time to be available for Arsenal’s FA Cup tie against Southampton. Let’s hope for a good beginning, if he starts, to his time at the club- and that he can come in handy when called upon by Mikel Arteta!