Arsenal in ‘advanced talks’ with Belgian outfit over loan move

James Holland
Alex Runarsson Arsenal

Arsenal are locked in negotiations with Belgian side OH Leuven over the departure of Alex Runarsson, according to reports.

The keeper joined Arsenal in September last year for a £1million fee, in order to act as backup for Bernd Leno.

However, he struggled during his first few appearances for the Gunners and they were forced to sign Mat Ryan on loan from Brighton as a result.

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Ryan has since returned to Spain, while Arsenal have spent £24million to bring in Aaron Ramsdale from Championship club Sheffield United.

Ramsdale’s arrival has pushed Runarsson down the pecking order, and it looks like the Iceland international could now leave the Emirates.

According to The Telegraph’s Mike McGrath, Runarsson is in the process of joining OH Leuven for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign.

It will be a season-long loan, with no option to buy next summer. Sky Sports, meanwhile, report that talks between the two clubs have reached an ‘advanced stage’.

The player’s departure from north London is expected to be announced in the coming hours, once a medical has been completed.

He isn’t the only squad member who could be allowed to leave before the 11pm deadline.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the subject of interest from Everton, recently tried to force through an exit.

He posted on Instagram: “All I wanna do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m gonna play. @Arsenal.”

However, his social media activity has reportedly angered club chiefs and Mikel Arteta. It’s rumoured that the versatile midfielder will now train with the club’s U23 side.

Spanish right-back Hector Bellerin is closing in on a Real Betis switch. The player made 25 appearances in the Premier League last term, scoring one goal, as Arsenal finished eighth in the table.

He is expected to complete a medical in Sevilla today before the deal is announced.

Bellerin has previously spoken about his love for Betis: “My first shirt was Betis because my father was a fan of the Verdiblanco team. It was difficult for me to support another club.”

His replacement looks likely to be Japan international Takehiro Tomiyasu. The Gunners have agreed a £16m deal with Bologna for the defender.