Arsenal targeting Aston Villa goalkeeper to compete with Bernd Leno
Arsenal are being linked with a shock move for Aston Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta confirmed that there are plans to strengthen the options available in that position.
Arsenal sold Emiliano Martinez to Villa in the summer in a deal worth up to £20 million, and they opted for Icelandic goalkeeper Alex Runarsson from Ligue 1 side Dijon right after.
However, Martinez has been remarkable for Villa since transferring there, being first in clean sheets in the Premier League so far this season, whilst Runarsson has struggled massively, making a number of mistakes in the games that he has played in.
The latest mistake came on his most recent appearance in the Carabao Cup quarter final against Manchester City in December, failing to deal with Riyad Mahrez's free-kick that seemed routine enough for him to catch.
As a result of this, Arteta confirmed that he is now on the hunt for a new backup option to Bernd Leno this month, saying "We are assessing the situation with the three positions on the goalkeeping area and we will find a different solution, probably in this window".
Reports from the Daily Mail have suggested that Heaton has emerged as one of the main targets for Arsenal, with his recent return to full fitness.
Heaton was about to make his first senior appearance for Villa in around a year in the FA Cup third round tie against Liverpool on Friday, but isolation rules forced him and the rest of the first-team players to sit out.
The 34-year-old has been on the bench for the last three league games after recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered against his former club Burnley last January.
Whilst Heaton has plenty of experience in the top flight, it is unlikely that he will be able to displace Martinez, who has been very impressive for both Aston Villa and Arsenal in 2020.
Speaking on Runarsson's future, Arteta said that he does not know whether he will go out on loan.
"The discussion we had in the summer within the club are a little bit different to what actually happened because of the transfer window and the situation that developed with Emi."
"We didn't have much time to do what we really wanted to do and we decided to assess the situation in this window which is what we are trying to do and we will make a decision on how we want to move forward in those three positions."
Villa's other goalkeeping option is Jed Steer, who has made two appearances in the Carabao Cup this season.