Who is new Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Turner? USMNT starter transfers to challenge Aaron Ramsdale

Who is new Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Turner? USMNT starter transfers to challenge Aaron Ramsdale

Arsenal officially announced the long-rumored capture of U.S. men’s national team goalkeeper Matt Turner, who is expected to compete for a starting place next season.

The move, which has been on the cards since initially reported by ESPN’s Taylor Twellman back on Jan. 20, sees the New England Revolution goalkeeper make his way to the Premier League.

Arsenal has yet to announce the deal, but the Revolution made it official on Feb. 11. Reports in England indicate that Arsenal will not announce the deal until the summer when Turner flies to England and completes his medical.

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Fabrizio Romano reports that the deal will cost Arsenal $6.7 million plus the possibility of $3 million in bonuses. New England reportedly has a 10 percent sell-on clause for future sales.

Turner will remain with New England through the summer, allowing him to continue getting game time with key World Cup qualifiers on tap for the USA, which is hoping to clinch a spot in Qatar 2022 in March.

Who is Matt Turner?

At 27 years old, Matt Turner has seen a rapid rise to his current status as one of the best goalkeepers in Major League Soccer and the starting No. 1 for the U.S. men’s national team in the absence of Manchester City’s Zack Steffen.

Turner’s story is a true rags-to-riches sports tale. The New Jersey-born goalkeeper didn’t even start playing the sport until he was 14 years old.

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“I used to go to [my sisters’] practices all the time, and I’d hop in goal,” Turner said of his start in the sport. “My parents didn’t know what to do with me, so they just put me in net and I would be flirty with all these girls. And luckily there was an injury to the goalkeeper at [high school] tryouts, I raised my hand to try it, and it kind of came naturally to me.”

Turner would go on to play collegiate soccer at Fairfield and went unselected in the 2016 MLS college draft. He signed with the Revolution after a successful pre-season tryout, and played for USL side Richmond Kickers on loan until his MLS debut in March 2018 under then-head coach Brad Friedel, a long-time Premier League goalkeeping star.

As his rise continued, Turner was voted both Revolution MVP by fans and Revolution Player of the Year by teammates in 2020, and in 2021 he was named the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. He made his USMNT debut in early 2021 in a friendly against Trinidad & Tobago, and has been Gregg Berhalter’s No. 1 choice in net since playing every minute of the USA’s run to the 2021 Gold Cup crown.

Turner started all three of the United States’ most recent World Cup qualifiers in late January 2022, going viral for his experience in the freezing cold Minnesota weather against Honduras. He had very little to do as the United States pummeled its regional opponent, leaving Turner frigid in net.

Turner is eligible for an English work permit thanks to his Lithuanian passport, which he obtained in 2020 via his great-grandmother who moved to the United States during World War II. Turner said that his effort to acquire the passport was a three-year process started back during his college days when playing in Europe was still a pipe dream.

Will Turner challenge for a starting spot at Arsenal?

Turner will remain in New England for the first half of 2022, but after moving to Arsenal this coming summer, it appears he will get every opportunity to challenge for the starting job.

According to Fabrizio Romano, Turner will “replace’ Bernd Leno in the Arsenal squad, with the German set to leave this summer. Leno was the starter at Arsenal for three seasons, until the Gunners lost its first three Premier League matches this season by a combined 9-0, and he was replaced by new acquisition Aaron Ramsdale.

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Ramsdale has started ever since, and has played incredibly well, rated the best goalkeeper in the league by both WhoScored and SofaScore metrics while ranking second in the league with 11 clean sheets.

If Ramsdale remains in this fine form the rest of the season, it will be tough for Turner to unseat the incumbent, but at the very least he probably would see time in Cup competitions. That is currently the case for fellow American Zack Steffen at Man City, where he is stuck behind Brazilian netminder Ederson, one of the best performers on the European scene.

Turner is set to join a list of American goalkeepers who have made their name in England from Kasey Keller to Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Friedel and Steffen among others.





Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.