Aaron Ramsdale says Bukayo Saka was a leading part of the attempt to convince him to sign for Arsenal last summer, while the pair were on England duty.

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WATFORD, ENGLAND: Aaron Ramsdale of Arsenal arrives ahead of the Premier League match between Watford and Arsenal at Vicarage Road on March 06, 2022. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

England boss Gareth Southgate handed out four Arsenal call-ups for the most recent international break, but it was a different story ahead of the Euros last summer.

Bukayo Saka was Arsenal’s sole England regular at the time, with Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale not having yet joined the Gunners.

It was during that pre-Euros camp that Ramsdale says he and Saka spoke about the news of Arsenal’s interest to help convince him to join.

“It wasn’t Mikel Arteta, to be honest – it was Bukayo (Saka),” Ramsdale said.

“I heard rumours that Arsenal were interested in me when I was at the camp before the Euros, and Bukayo had mentioned that he and the boss had been talking about me.

“As the transfer window gathered pace, I went back to Sheffield United and there were bids getting rejected.

“When one was accepted, I finally spoke to the manager & he told me “We don’t see anyone as #1 or #2.”

“He told me that it might take a year to win the main shirt. The manager’s great – you can speak to him about anything.”

Arsenal's English goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale throws the ball during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Arsenal at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north-west of London on March 6, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s English goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale throws the ball during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Arsenal at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north-west of London on March 6, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Things have obviously gone well for Ramsdale since then, as he’s hit 14 clean sheets with Arsenal (and one with Sheffield United) in under 30 games.

The fact the 23-year-old has even made 27 appearances this season is probably more than he was expecting, and a bonus in itself.

To have done so well in those games in his first Arsenal season is the cherry on top.

It’s rare to have a whole campaign without any setbacks, however, and we’re arguably now seeing Ramsdale’s biggest challenge since joining.

The goalkeeper picked up an injury against Liverpool, conceding a soft goal after opting to stay on, and Arteta says he’s still a doubt for Arsenal’s game against Crystal Palace on Monday.

With Ramsdale out, Bernd Leno has already kept one clean sheet, and he’ll be hoping to add another if he gets the chance on Monday night. Then it will be up to Ramsdale to respond again.

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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.