Arsenal

Pundit says £30m Arsenal star might be their most improved player this season

Adrian Clarke believes that there is one Arsenal player alongside Kai Havertz who deserves a mention for how much he has improved over the course of the season as Mikel Arteta’s men came agonisingly close to winning the Premier League title.

Arsenal have definitely taken another step forward this season, with Manchester City only clinching the title on the final day of the campaign.

The Gunners found another gear in 2024, with Kai Havertz one of those who looked to be a completely different player from the start of the season.

Havertz is arguably the clear choice for Arsenal’s most improved player this season, with the German bouncing back from losing his place in the side at one stage and becoming Arteta’s number one option up front.

David Raya’s improvement lauded after first season at Arsenal
But speaking on the Handbrake Off podcast, Adrian Clarke suggested that there is another member of the squad who has managed to prove a lot of people wrong.

“I think David Raya deserves a mention actually. He’s another of our new signings that wasn’t met with universal joy, I guess, at the outset. But after a nervy start, I think he’s got more and more confident,” he said

 

That moment against Porto I think was the moment when he really arrived. Just think about that catch, that catching save he made against Everton yesterday, I thought it was absolutely superb. So it’s been great to see David Raya grow in confidence, because being a goalkeeper for Brentford is almost a different profession to being a goalkeeper for The Arsenal.

“The spotlight, the scrutiny, the pressure that you’re under multiplies 100 times, and it’s not easy. And he didn’t find it easy at the outset, but I think he’s grown more and more comfortable in his own skin and hopefully we can expect him to continue to develop into an even better goalkeeper next season.”

Not everyone wanted the Gunners to sign the Spaniard
Arteta probably has been vindicated for pursuing a deal for Raya in the summer. At the time, it was not clear why Arsenal would want to sign the Spaniard when Aaron Ramsdale had been a revelation.

In fact, interest in the Brentford goalkeeper created a bit of a rift behind the scenes at the Emirates. Steve Round was against the idea of Arsenal signing Raya, and that contributed to the decision for Arteta’s assistant to leave the club the month before the goalkeeper did sign in a deal which could cost up to £30 million.

It is impossible to say how Arsenal would have fared had Ramsdale kept his place as number one, but there is no question that Raya has stamped his authority on that position.

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