Mat Ryan’s loan move to Arsenal has been hailed as a fine piece of business as the Socceroos goalkeeper fights to get back playing regular Premier League football.
Ryan fell out of favour at Brighton with Robert Sanchez the club’s preferred No. 1.
He was told by the club late last month he would be free to explore his options with Arsenal moving quickly to snap up the Australian international until the end of the season
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While initially signed as a back-up to Bernd Leno following Emiliano Martinez’s departure, there is every chance the 28-year-old could push for the starting role.
“Mat is an experienced goalkeeper, a proven talent in the Premier League and has also played many internationals for Australia,” said Edu, Arsenal’s sporting director.
“Mat will further strengthen our squad with his experience and knowledge of playing at the highest level. 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 praise was universal from ex-Arsenal players, with former striker Ian Wright calling Ryan a “much needed addition”.
Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said the shrewd move will keep Mikel Arteta’s side flush with quality options.
“I was disappointed to see Martinez leave in the first place when you consider he climbed a mountain last year to get in the first team,” Keown told talkSPORT.
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“I imagine they couldn’t afford to keep two first-string goalkeepers financially, maybe they didn’t see that as the right way forward. He was allowed to leave.
“So this is a good adjustment, Mat Ryan coming in – 59 caps for Australia, he’s their No1 goalkeeper, he’s been out of the team at Brighton. He’s coming with good experience and that’s what Arsenal need in the event that Leno gets injured at any point.”
There was some disbelief, though, about Brighton’s decision to let Ryan go.
The Australian has been a mainstay in the side until the last few months.
“I was quite perplexed. I thought where has this come from,” he said. “I think the Arsenal hierarchy recognised they needed someone to deputise for, and challenge Leno for that starting position because there’s a lot of football left to play. I’m not quite sure what Brighton are doing. It doesn’t make sense, why they would allow him to leave in January when he’s a really good keeper and has put in some really strong performances for them.”