After joining Real Sociedad on a permanent deal from Brighton this summer, Mat Ryan has explained why he didn’t return to Arsenal instead.

Mat Ryan of Arsenal Arsenal v Manchester City, UK - 21 Feb 2021. Copyright: Arron Gent / JMP / Shutterstock
Mat Ryan of Arsenal Arsenal v Manchester City, UK – 21 Feb 2021. Copyright: Arron Gent / JMP / Shutterstock

One of the many positions Arsenal needed to fill this summer was in goal, with Bernd Leno currently the only serious contender for Premier League starts.

The Gunners had addressed this issue from January to May using Mat Ryan, who joined on a loan deal from Brighton and Hove Albion. A popular figure in North London, there was some hope he might return permanently this summer.

Yet, in the end, Ryan ended up in Spain with Real Sociedad. Speaking to Fox’s James Dodd this week, the goalkeeper revealed that his camp did ask about making his loan permanent, but Arsenal weren’t sufficiently keen.

“We enquired but we were told I wasn’t top of their list,” Ryan explained. “We got the impression they were looking for a homegrown keeper.”

It’s obviously a shame not to have held onto a goalkeeper who had a positive impact in his brief time with the club and clearly had Arsenal at heart. But if Arsenal want to prioritise a homegrown goalkeeper, that’s also not the worst plan – depending on the goalkeeper.

Plus, Ryan is now out injured after surgery on a knee cartilage injury, so the short-term issue that Arsenal don’t have a strong bench option for Friday’s game against Brentford couldn’t be solved by the Australian goalkeeper anyway.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.