Transfer Update: Arsenal finally signed 2 MLS players, as the only Ins
Arsenal made no immediate signings as the winter transfer window slammed shut. They had been linked to many players across positions but saw no new signings arrive at the Emirates. However, the Gunners did provide fans with some good news, the signing of American internationals Matt Turner and Auston Trusty.
4 days before deadline day, technical director Edu managed to strike a deal with MLS side New England Revolution. As per the deal, American shot-stopper Matt Turner will join the North London side in the summer.
Arsenal also completed the signing of Colorado Rapids defender Auston Trusty in a permanent transfer on deadline day. However, the young MLS defender has been loaned back to the US club and will remain with them for the rest of the Premier League season before joining the Gunners in July.
Matt Turner, currently 27, was part of the New England Revolution squad that topped the Eastern Conference. Turner recorded 28 starts, as New England finished with 19 points clear of second-placed Philadelphia Union. They were knocked out by New York City FC on penalties in the Conference semi-finals.
Matt Turner, who joined New England from Richmond Kickers in 2018, had an impressive campaign. The American keeper registered a save percentage of 74.2%. He affected 96 saves from the 128 shots he faced. He is also very proactive, and willing to step out of his line to claim a cross or reclaim possession.
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Turner is a very impressive shot-stopper. Over the last 4 years, his Post Shot Expected Goals (psxG) per 90 minutes read: +0.04, +0.29, +0.37, +0.21. In comparison, Ramsdale’s best-ever season so far has seen the Englishman register a psxG performance of +0.05.
Turner is also a reliable penalty keeper. In the 2021 edition of the MLS, Turner saved 2 of the 4 penalties he faced. The 27-year-old is also decent with the ball at his feet. He is a safe short passer, which fits the style Arteta tries to implement with his side. Turner’s long passing is probably a weak link to his game, and he does not offer the same vision as Ramsdale in picking out his forwards from long kicks.
Arsenal reportedly will acquire the services of Turner in exchange for £4.5million upfront. This deal could rise to £7.5million based on various add-ons, and New England will receive 10% of any transfer fee Arsenal collect from his sale. Arteta’s current backup option, Bernd Leno, has been linked with a move away from the club. Turner could be an able backup choice to Ramsdale and perform in the absence of the Englishman or cup games.
Auston Trusty was a part of the Colorado Rapids team that topped the Western Conference. The Rapids finished one point ahead of Seattle Sounders but were eliminated by Portland Timbers in the conference semi-finals. The 23-year-old was a crucial part of Rapids’ defence. He started 33 games and even had a goal to his name. The American is a left-footed centre-back. He featured on the left side of Robin Fraser’s 3-4-3 set-up.
Like Gabriel, Trusty is also an aggressive defender, comfortable in stepping up to disrupt the opposition attacks. The US defender also blocked a staggering 23 shots and made 237 recoveries throughout the season. He is also comfortable in the air and won 88 of the 128 aerial duels he contested.
Trusty’s weakness could be marked in his ability against opposition dribblers. The American defender was dribbled past 26 times from 43 opponent attempts in 2021. He also conceded 38 fouls and was booked 4 times.
On the ball, Trusty, however, strikes a composed figure. Colorado Rapids registered 41% of all their attacks down the left wing. The US international registers 3 progressive carries and over 1 carry into the final third every 90 minutes. He also made 3 successful through-balls and 14 key passes. The American makes 4.30 passes into the final third every 90 minutes and completed 210 long balls too.
Like Matt Turner, Auston Trusty is also expected to take up a rotational role. Arteta already has Gabriel as the primary left centre-back option. The Brazilian, however, has no immediate backup option. Defender Pablo Mari departed from North London to join Udinese in the winter window, and Trusty would most likely take up his place on the bench.
Arsenal have made two quality investments in Matt Turner and Auston Trusty for a relatively low cost. The Gunners have also successfully managed to offload a host of first-team players: Pablo Mari, Callum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, none of whom were getting regular minutes.
The Gunners need to head into the summer transfer window with a fixed plan and a certain shortlist of target players. In the recently concluded window, there was a clear lack of clarity in the transfer operations. The Gunners were linked to contrasting profiles: Dusan Vlahovic and Alexander Isak, Arthur Melo and Denis Zakaria, while any deal failed to materialise.
Matt Turner is likely to serve as an able back-up to Aaron Ramsdale, if not potential competition while the situation is a little different for Auston Trusty. Arsenal have William Saliba returning from loan at the end of the season, and Rob Holding remains with the club.
Trusty, however, is the only left-footed option among the trio. Arteta may ask the American to leave on a loan or look to move Rob Holding. The 23-year-old defender will be looking to carry forward his strong performances in the MLS and prove himself to Arteta in the pre-season.