Paul Merson has picked Aaron Ramsdale ahead of Bukayo Saka as Arsenal’s best player in the 2021/22 Premier League season.
The Gunners had a topsy-turvy campaign, to say the least. They started last season with three consecutive defeats and were stuck at the bottom of the league table.
Mikel Arteta’s side then recovered brilliantly and got into the driving seat to finish inside the top four. All Arsenal had to do was win their last two games of the season, but the young Gunners just didn’t turn up at Newcastle, and that ended their Champions League hopes.
Despite the terrible end, Arsenal have a lot of positives to take from last season, and Merson believes Ramsdale’s signing is one of them.
Paul Merson: Aaron Ramsdale was Arsenal’s best player last season
In his column on Sportskeeda, Merson named every top-six club’s best player in the 2021/22 campaign.
Naming Arsenal’s best player, the pundit wrote: “I could’ve just as easily gone with Bukayo Saka here, but Aaron Ramsdale has been exceptional.
“He’s had a couple of shaky performances, but he’s exceeded expectations and has been outstanding in most of the games he’s played. When Arsenal were chasing him around last year, I was sitting here wondering why they wanted a goalkeeper who’d let in more goals than anyone else in the last three years.
“Arteta got it right here, and Ramsdale’s made me eat my words.”
When rumours about Arsenal’s interest in Ramsdale surfaced at around this time last year, many people thought it was a joke. As the transfer links intensified, Mikel Arteta and Edu were constantly mocked for even thinking about signing a goalkeeper who had been relegated in each of the previous two seasons.
Despite all the criticism, the Arsenal boss stood his ground and insisted that he wanted Ramsdale. After weeks of negotiations, Edu sealed the deal for £24 million (The Athletic), and that has proved to be a transfer masterstroke.
Ramsdale has proven a lot of people wrong over the last eight months, and he deserves immense credit for that. He is now many fans’ preferred option to be England’s number one ahead of Jordan Pickford, which was unimaginable this time last year.
Saka has had a tremendous season for Arsenal, and he is surely many people’s player of the season. However, it won’t be wrong at all if Ramsdale pips him to the award.