Arsenal identify cheaper Aaron Ramsdale transfer alternative as £25m fee puts Gunners off

Arsenal: First fixtures of 2021/22 Premier League season

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Arsenal will consider a move for West Bromwich Albion and England goalkeeper Sam Johnstone if they are unable to tempt Sheffield United into selling Aaron Ramsdale this summer, according to reports. The Gunners are in need of at least one new option between the sticks ahead of the new campaign following the departure of Brighton and Hove Albion loanee Mat Ryan at the end of last season.

First-choice stopper Bernd Leno is also facing an uncertain future amid reports suggesting that he could be set to leave the Emirates Stadium over the coming weeks and months.

Mikel Arteta is looking to lead a large-scale overhaul of his playing squad this summer as the Spaniard looks to build on last season’s disappointing eighth-placed finish in the Premier League.

Ramsdale is said to have been identified as a top target by Arsenal following Sheffield United’s return to the Championship, but it remains to be seen whether the Gunners will be able to pull off a move for the 23-year-old.

The Blades are under no pressure to sell and have reportedly slapped a £25million price tag on their prized asset, who remains under contract at Bramall Lane until the summer of 2024.

Arsenal have been evaluating their options as a result of United’s asking price and will switch their focus to Johnstone if the Yorkshire outfit refuse to budge, according to the Daily Star.

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The report claims that West Brom would be willing to part ways with the 28-year-old for around £20million, with the Gunners weighing up the possibility of a move for his services.

Johnstone excelled at times for the Baggies last season despite their eventual relegation and is an experienced operator, missing just two league matches over the course of his last four seasons in the game.

Both Ramsdale and Johnstone are currently on England duty for Euro 2020, suggesting that any progress on their respective futures will not be made until after the conclusion of the tournament.

It appears as though the latter may emerge as the most likely option for Arsenal over the next few weeks, with new Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic underlining his desire to keep hold of Ramsdale earlier this month.

“I have one of the best ‘keepers in England,” he told reporters. “So I want one of the best ones to be here with us.

“Again, I will have the chance to it down with them and that’s what I will say. They [Ramsdale and Sander Berge] are two of my best players, as I say, and so I always want my best players to be here with me.

“I haven’t had the chance yet but, when I do, I will sit down with both of them and let them know what my feelings are. I will tell [them] the same as I have just told you.”

Arsenal have been linked with a number of other players in recent weeks as club director Edu looks to intensify his summer recruitment drive.

Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga and Benfica defender Nuno Tavares are said to be closing in on moves to north London, with Arteta in need of improvements all over the park ahead of next season.

Meanwhile, the likes of Brighton and Hove Albion’s Yves Bissouma, Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli and Raheem Sterling of Manchester City have also been linked with the three-time Premier League champions.

In order to fund their planned summer business, Arsenal are believed to be looking to sell a number of their existing stars, with Hector Bellerin, Lucas Torreira and Sead Kolasinac among those reportedly on the chopping block.

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