Arsenal must make a ruthless call on Alex Runarsson in this January transfer window.
The Iceland international only arrived at the Emirates in the summer, joining from French side Dijon as a direct replacement for the Aston Villa bound Emiliano Martinez.
With Bernd Leno established as Mikel Arteta’s established number one goalkeeper, Runarsson has been restricted to sporadic appearances, getting onto the pitch just five times in total.
Even despite playing just five games for the club, the 25-year-old has shown nothing to prove to Arteta that he can be a worthy back-up goalkeeper to Leno.
The Gunners were arguably spoiled by the fact that they had Emiliano Martinez as their reserve shot-stopper; the Argentine is proving with Villa now that he is more than capable of being a Premier League side’s number one by keeping eight clean sheets in 15 top-flight games.
In contrast, Runarsson’s most memorable moments for the Gunners have been his high-profile clangers, not least when he literally chucked away Arsenal’s chances of a Carabao Cup semi-final by dropping a Riyad Mahrez free-kick into his own net – the north Londoners would eventually lose 4-1 on the night.
Speaking after the game, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp, said: “I almost feel bad jumping into his nightmare. People make mistakes, from a goalkeeper’s perspective it looks like he got himself into the right position but takes his eye off the ball.
“I’m sure Arsenal fans are thinking ‘why don’t we play our No 1 goalkeeper?’ Goalkeepers don’t need to rest, I know it’s the Carabao Cup but it’s a big game for him today. It didn’t really make sense playing him in the first place.”
The fact is Runarsson has only shown himself to be a liability for Arteta. Given how much the Gunners had to depend on Martinez last season following Leno’s injury, it would be a nightmare if something similar happened to the German now and only the former was available for these upcoming Premier League and Europa League knockout games.
It may be a ruthless call given that the Icelandic ace only joined in the summer, but it’s one that will no leave the Arsenal boss relieved given how much he has already cost them in his limited game-time this season.