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Arsenal eye Plan B as Aaron Ramsdale transfer collapses over key issue

Arsenal have pulled out of a deal to sign Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale after failing to agree on a fee with the Blades.

Ramsdale has been one of Arsenal’s top targets all summer as they look for further competition for Bernd Leno. Despite suffering relegation in consecutive seasons with Bournemouth and the Blades, he has done well enough on an individual level. In fact, he earned a late call-up to the England squad for Euro 2020.

Even though he did not play at the tournament, it was a symbol of his rise to prominence. Now, for the second summer in a row, he could leave his relegated club for a Premier League move.

Reports on Wednesday claimed Arsenal were ready to raise their bid to get closer to the Blades’ £30m valuation. Indeed, there was a degree of optimism that a deal was close to being agreed.

However, the Gunners are unwilling to increase their bid of £20m. And despite lengthy talks with Sheffield United officials, Football.London reports Arsenal withdrew their offer late on Wednesday night.

It means the Gunners now must rely on out of favour Alex Runarsson on the bench to face Brentford on Friday.

Arsenal originally signed  Runarsson to be their new backup option after the sale of Emiliano Martinez last summer. However, the Iceland international disappointed and the club brought in Mat Ryan on loan from Brighton in January.

The Gunners will now explore a number of other options as they seek to find cover and competition for Leno.

Whilst no names have been disclosed, director of football Richard Garlick is understood to have another option in mind.

For Ramsdale, meanwhile, it now leaves his future in an uncertain position.

The keeper was not in the South Yorkshire side’s squad for their EFL Cup game against Carlisle on Tuesday. However, manager Slavisa Jokanovic denied a transfer was the reason behind his absence.

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Onana likeliest destination named

Arsenal were considering a cut-price deal for Ajax keeper Andre Onana, who is currently suspended. Onana was punished in February for taking a prohibited substance. However, he saw his ban reduced on appeal owing to taking it inadvertently.

Even so, he will be unavailable until November, and with his contract up next summer, Ajax are looking to sell.

A unique opportunity has presented itself, then, to sign one of the best goalkeepers outside Europe’s top five leagues for a cut-price fee. But Arsenal will instead be spending bigger on Ramsdale.

For Onana, it means he will have to look elsewhere, with one solution already emerging. According to Corriere Dello Sport, despite Arsenal’s enquiries, Inter Milan will win the race for his signature.

The Serie A champions are on the lookout for a successor to Samir Handanovic, who is still going strong at the age of 37. However, the Slovenian is in the last year of his contract and Inter will look for a long-term replacement in the not-too-distant future.

Handanovic may well stay on beyond the upcoming season, but Onana would likely overtake him in the hierarchy after joining as a free agent next summer. That said, the deal is not complete and remains simply an idea.

Even so, it seems that it wasn’t Arsenal who hijacked his move to Lyon, but perhaps Inter instead.

With that in mind, the Gunners are focusing their energies on Ramsdale and may be nearing a breakthrough.

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