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5 things you may not know about Arsenal’s new goalkeeper

Arsenal v West Ham United – Premier League – Emirates Stadium
(Image credit: Julian Finney)

Arsenal have completed the signing of Iceland international goalkeeper Alex Runarsson from Ligue 1 side Dijon.

The 25-year-old has signed a four-year contract at the Emirates Stadium and becomes the latest new addition for the Gunners.

Here, the PA news agency gives you five things about the relatively-unknown Runarsson.

Generation game

Runarsson's father, Runar Kristinsson currently manages KR Reykjavik. (PA)

Runarsson’s father, Runar Kristinsson currently manages KR Reykjavik. (PA)

Runarsson followed in the footsteps of his father by becoming a professional footballer.

Runar Kristinsson was a midfielder rather than a goalkeeper and is the most-capped player in the history of the Iceland national team having made 104 appearances for his country.

He now manages KR Reykjavik and saw his side thrashed 6-0 by Scottish champions Celtic in a Champions League qualifier in August.

World Cup watch-along

Hannes Thor Halldorsson played in Iceland's shock Euro 2016 win over England.

Hannes Thor Halldorsson played in Iceland’s shock Euro 2016 win over England. (Nick Potts/PA)

While Kristinsson became an international regular, Runarsson has collected just five caps to date.

He made his debut in a 2-1 friendly loss at home to the Czech Republic in November 2017, with current West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek among the scorers for the away side.

Runarsson was selected in Iceland’s squad for the 2018 World Cup but was an unused substitute in all three Group D games as the more experienced Hannes Thor Halldorsson was preferred.

Not so mustard in Dijon

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Having made his senior international debut, Runarsson was also starting to make a name for himself in the Danish Superliga with FC Nordsjaelland.

He was named their player of the year for the 2017-18 campaign before landing a move to Ligue 1 with Dijon.

There he struggled to make the same sort of impact and, after his first season, started playing second-fiddle to Alfred Gomis.

During his time at Dijon, Runarsson conceded 59 goals in 34 Ligue 1 starts and kept just five clean sheets along the way – the last coming in April 2019.

Cana a fan

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta puts plenty of faith in goalkeeper coach Inaki Cana (right) to find potential new signings.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta puts plenty of faith in goalkeeper coach Inaki Cana (right) to find potential new signings. (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Despite a relatively poor record at Dijon, Runarsson did enough to catch the attention of now-Arsenal goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana – who posted a selection of his best saves on his personal YouTube channel.

Cana previously worked for Brentford and the Bees were linked with a move for Runarsson in the 2019 January transfer window.

But the pair will finally work together after Arsenal completed their move, with Cana no doubt playing a key role in identifying a replacement for Emiliano Martinez – who has joined Aston Villa.

Breaking the Ice

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While Runarsson has no doubt been signed as a back-up goalkeeper, he will be keen to make more of an impact at Arsenal than his compatriots who had been given the chance beforehand.

Olafur Ingi Skularson played in one League Cup game – coming off the bench in a 5-1 win over Wolves in December 2003 – a night best remembered for Cesc Fabregas scoring his first goal for the club.

Before then, Sigurd Jonsson was signed from Sheffield Wednesday in 1989 but saw his time at the club scuppered by injury – his two league appearances not enough to earn him a Division One winners’ medal as George Graham’s side won the 1990-91 title.