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Arsenal star David Raya has vowed to continue to ‘fight’ Aaron Ramsdale for the No. 1 spot at the Emirates Stadium. The Spaniard was signed on a loan-to-buy deal from Brentford over the summer, throwing Mikel Arteta’s goalkeeping pecking order into question after last season’s success.
The Gunners have made a strong start to the campaign, winning six of their opening eight matches and recently beating Manchester City to justify their title contender credentials once more. Following last season’s second-placed finish, Arteta was keen to avoid complacency over the summer and bolstered his squad significantly in the transfer market.
Jurrien Timber was acquired from Ajax to provide defensive depth, with Declan Rice and Kai Havertz signed to add quality to Arsenal’s midfield. The arrival of Raya from Brentford was also a move masterminded by Arteta, with the Spanish boss keen to have two top-quality options between the sticks.
Ramsdale performed well last season but has ultimately been forced to watch on from the sidelines in recent weeks, despite Arteta insisting that he does not have a No.1 choice. However, Raya is keen to become Arsenal’s first pick as soon as possible and has sent a warning to his competition.
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He told The Athletic: “I’m going to fight for it (being the Gunners’ No. 1). Arteta gives me the confidence to be there, that he wanted to have two top players in each position, and it was up to me to find the time and fight to get the minutes. I don’t want to think beyond that. If there are rotations, as there are in any position, I’m going to help on and off the pitch.”
Despite vying for the same spot in Arteta’s starting XI, Ramsdale and Raya remain supportive of one another and hope that they both can improve as a result of the added competition.
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“The relationship? It’s very good,” explained Raya. “At the end of the day, we are mates, which is the important thing. We have a very healthy relationship. There are no problems.
“We push each other every day in training: when he’s a little bit down, I push him, and when I’m a little bit down (he does the same). We train three goalkeepers, four at the most, for hours a week, and you need that kind of relationship because otherwise, the training is not going to go well.”
It remains to be seen whether Raya retains his spot in Arteta’s starting line-up once the international break concludes, or if Ramsdale returns to the frame to evidence his manager’s claims that he has no preference at this stage.
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