Mat Ryan has explained why he didn’t join Arsenal permanently, despite a positive meeting with Mikel Arteta before the end of his loan.

Newcastle United v Arsenal - Premier League - Arsenal goalkeeper Mat Ryan saves a shot during the Premier League match at St James Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. Issue date: Sunday, May 2, 2021. Copyright: Lindsey Parnaby
Newcastle United v Arsenal – Premier League – Arsenal goalkeeper Mat Ryan saves a shot during the Premier League match at St James Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. Issue date: Sunday, May 2, 2021. Copyright: Lindsey Parnaby

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

The Gunners had addressed that 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 in the summer.

Ryan had a conversation with Mikel Arteta about his spell with the club, but it didn’t lead to anything.

“I had a sit-down with Arteta at the end of the season,” Ryan recalled.

“It was all very positive. He said I’d exceeded everyone’s expectations and I gave him quite a lot of headaches in selection.

“His comment to me was, ‘I’m going to speak to the club about trying to sign you permanently.’

“Over the summer, we were waiting. The club never contacted us directly, then it got to the point where I had another offer (from Sociedad).

“We went back to Arsenal and they just said I wasn’t No 1 on their list. It was being documented that they were looking for a UK-based (homegrown) goalkeeper to fill the spot.

“It was pretty apparent they were looking for that, then (Aaron) Ramsdale signed before the end of the window.”

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

In the end, Ryan moved to Spain with Real Sociedad. He’s already had to battle back from surgery on a knee cartilage injury, which hurt his chances of nailing down their starting goalkeeper spot early on.

But the 29-year-old is still first choice for Australia, and he got to play a couple of games for Real Sociedad in the Europa League knockouts last month.

In all competitions, he’s made nine club appearances this season. He’ll be hoping for more in the buildup to the World Cup this winter.

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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.