Arteta wants first summer signing ‘in coming weeks’ as Arsenal, Liverpool ‘shortlist’ Arne Slot player

Jason Soutar
Arsenal and Liverpool target Justin Bijlow
Arsenal and Liverpool target Justin Bijlow

Feyenoord goalkeeper Justin Bijlow is on the ‘shortlist’ of Arsenal and Liverpool after Manchester United targeted him last summer, according to reports.

Bijlow has been in and out of the Feyenoord starting XI this season due to injury, playing 24 times across all competitions for Arne Slot’s side.

The 26-year-old was one of four goalkeepers named in Ronald Koeman’s preliminary Netherlands squad for this summer’s European Championships.

He is widely regarded as a top goalkeeper with the ball at his feet, making him attractive to clubs in the Premier League, with Arsenal ‘100 per cent’ expected to sign a new goalkeeper this summer with Aaron Ramsdale likely to leave, Fabrizio Romano has reported.

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David Raya will be signed permanently for £27million after joining on an initial loan deal last summer and Mikel Arteta is eager to find some strong competition for the Spanish shot-stopper.

It has been reported that Arteta’s priority is to sign a home-grown goalkeeper, with former player Wojciech Szczesny – currently at Juventus and expected to leave this summer – one of the names linked.

Arsenal identify ‘very serious option’ as Arteta priority revealed

A report from De Telegraaf in the Netherlands states that the Arsenal manager wants a ‘keeper who will be ready ‘immediately’ and ‘can compete’ with Raya.

It is said that ‘England beckons for Bijlow’ as he is on the Gunners’ and Liverpool’s ‘shortlist’, putting him ‘in the picture at two leading Premier League clubs as a second goalkeeper’. Thank you very much, Google Translate.

Indeed, Arsenal boss Arteta wants a top goalkeeper to compete with Raya, similar to Stefan Ortega and Ederson at Manchester City.

Ignoring the fact Arne Slot will be the new Liverpool head coach, the Reds’ ‘scouts have already followed Bijlow’s actions this year’ with representatives for both clubs in attendance for four of Feyenoord’s Champions League matches this season.

The signing of a new goalkeeper appears to be a top priority for Arteta, who wants to agree a deal to sign someone ‘in the coming weeks’, with the Dutchman deemed ‘a very serious option’.

Arteta ‘thinks Bijlow fits perfectly into his attacking system’, clearly rating him very highly in possession.

The report adds that Manchester United ‘were in the picture’ for the player’s signing last summer when Erik ten Hag was seeking a replacement for David de Gea.

Ten Hag – who knows of Bijlow’s ‘footballing qualities’ – loves an Eredivisie signing and ended up landing former Ajax ‘keeper Andre Onana from Inter as De Gea’s successor.

Last year, Feyenoord would have been willing to sell their goalkeeper for ‘more than 25 million euros’ but these demands are ‘no longer realistic due to several factors’.

This has handed Arsenal and Liverpool a huge boost, with Bijlow to be available for a ‘significantly lower’ fee.

Alisson or Kelleher to leave Liverpool this summer?

While the focus of the report is mainly on Arsenal, it is interesting to see Liverpool’s name thrown in the mix.

Caoimhin Kelleher is a very capable second-choice goalkeeper but might seek a move elsewhere in order to play regularly, and Bijlow seems like a natural fit with Slot replacing Jurgen Klopp as Reds manager.

Slot knows the 26-year-old very well but will surely not be looking to make him No. 1 ahead of Alisson, though the Brazilian has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia.

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