Arsenal linked with shock Aston Villa transfer after Mikel Arteta confirms solution – Birmingham Live

Arsenal linked with shock Aston Villa transfer after Mikel Arteta confirms solution – Birmingham Live

Arsenal are being linked with a surprise move for Aston Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton after manager Mikel Arteta confirmed he plans to strengthen his options in the position.

The Gunners sold Emiliano Martinez to Villa in the summer and snapped up Icelandic stopper Alex Runarsson from French side Dijon shortly after.

While Martinez has impressed at Villa Park – topping the Premier League rankings for clean sheets – Runarsson has struggled, making a number of errors.

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The latest came in his most recent appearance in the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Manchester City in December, when he punched Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick into the roof of the net on the way to a 4-1 defeat for the Gunners.

Having failed to adequately replace Martinez and allowed 26-year-old Matt Macey to join Hibernian, Arteta confirmed he is on the hunt for a new backup option to current number one Bernd Leno this month.

“We are assessing the situation with the three positions on the goalkeeping area and we will find a different solution, probably in this window,” he said.

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According to the Daily Mail, that solution could come in the form of Heaton, who has recently returned to fitness.

Heaton was set to make his first senior appearance for Villa in over 12 months in the FA Cup third round tie against Liverpool on Friday before the first-team squad went into isolation after a coronavirus outbreak at Bodymoor Heath.

He has been on the bench for the last three top-flight matches having recovered from the anterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered against former club Burnley last January.

The 34-year-old has a wealth of experience and could have one eye on breaking back into the England squad for this summer’s delayed European Championships.

Asked if Runarsson might go out on loan, Arteta said: “There is nothing there yet.

“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 also have Jed Steer at the club and he has made two appearances this season, both coming in the Carabao Cup.