Arsenal have agreed a deal with French club Dijon to sign goalkeeper Alex Rúnarsson for a fee in the region of €2m. He will join Willian, Dani Ceballos and Gabriel in the summer signings list.
As we are all aware, Alex Rúnarsson is well known to Arsenal goalkeeping coach Iñaki Caña during their time together at FC Nordsjælland. Otherwise, information on him is not easy to find. Some have jumped to conclusions purely on the basis of the underlying data, whilst others have taken to watching compilations to form a judgement.
However, to truly understand Alex Rúnarsson – we need insight from someone who knows the player well, which is why I interviewed Ósvald Jarl Traustason, who is a friend of Rúnarsson and a former team-mate of his for the Iceland U-17 and U-19 National teams.
Ósvald also happens to be a fan of Arsenal, so let’s welcome him into our family – you can find him on twitter @otraustason.
On that note, let’s get straight into the questions.
1. You were team-mates with Rúnar Alex when he played for Iceland’s U-17 and U-19 teams. How was he back then?
Ósvald: “A down-to-earth guy. Extremely easy to talk to. Always looking to become better. Listened to criticism and tried to learn from it.”
2. Do you think he will be a good signing for Arsenal?
Ósvald: “I think Rúnar Alex is going to be a fantastic signing for Arsenal. Rúnar Alex is a player who will always give his best, no matter what.”
3. What is Rúnar’s character like from when you played with him – how would you describe him as a teammate to have in the dressing room?
Ósvald: “As I mentioned in Q1, Rúnar Alex is first and foremost a down-to-earth guy who always gives his absolute best! It is extremely easy to talk to him. He is fun to be around.”
4. What are Rúnar Alex’ biggest strengths and what would you say is an area for him to improve?
Ósvald: “Rúnar Alex biggest strength is his positioning and how well he understands the game. Additionally, Rúnar Alex is extremely good on his feet; receiving the ball, passing the ball, footwork, etc. Despite being calm and relaxed most of the time, he is good at controlling the players in front of him. Area that he would like to improve is probably related to coming out strong on crosses.”
5. Right now, Iceland’s first choice goalkeeper is Halldórsson, do you think Runar will become Iceland’s first choice soon?
Ósvald: “As we know, things can often happen quickly in football. For instance, he is just one injury away from becoming the No. 1 at Arsenal, one of the biggest football clubs in the world. As a result, this move to Arsenal is only going to help him in becoming Iceland’s first choice goalkeeper in the future!”
6. How highly is Runar regarded in Iceland?
Ósvald: “He is and has always been regarded highly in Iceland. At a very young age, people started to notice him. People saw early on that he was going to be a great goalkeeper. It is just his character I guess, i.e. how he behaves on and off the field. A lovely guy!”
7. Lastly, Runar is still only 25, quite young for a goalkeeper – is he good enough to be a 2nd choice keeper in a difficult league such as the Premier league, or does he need time?
Ósvald: “Of course. Most definitely. He is going to learn a lot from Leno. To train with the best players is only going to make Rúnar Alex better. When he gets his game, Arsenal fans will see how good he is. They will not be disappointed.”
It will be interesting to see how Rúnarsson fares. And for such a low fee, it may well be worth a punt. Thank you to everyone for your patient reading. Exciting times ahead. COYG!
Featured image: (AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. Brown)