Runar Alex Runarsson has revealed just how ‘excited’ he was when Thomas Partey joined him at Arsenal this summer and says the club sent a message to the world that they are ready to challenge for both the Premier League and the Champions League again with the signing.
Mikel Arteta made it clear he was prioritising a move for a central midfielder at the start of the summer but the club began their rebuild by bringing in Lille central defender Gabriel Magalhaes for a fee of around £27million.
The north London side followed this up by agreeing a £1.8million deal with Dijon for Iceland goalkeeper Runarsson following Emiliano Martinez’s move to Aston Villa.
Arsenal’s hopes of strengthening in midfield appeared dead in the water as the clock wound down on the transfer window but the Gunners stunned Atletico Madrid by triggering Partey’s £45m release clause on deadline day.
On how he reacted to Partey’s move, fellow new boy Runarsson told Goal: ‘I was so excited because it shows everybody the ambition that the club has: that we want to go back to compete for the Premier League and Champions League
‘We want to take part in all the major competitions, and not just take part but win.
‘To sign Thomas, it just shows the world what we are all about.’
Runarsson wants to play ‘as many games as possible’ for Arsenal and says he’s inspired by the patience and desire Martinez showed in his long wait for regular minutes in the first-team.
‘I read an interview with him a couple of days ago and he said he came in as the ninth-choice goalkeeper, but he worked his a*se off to become the first-choice at Arsenal after Bernd Leno’s injury,’ he added.
‘Then, he makes a brilliant move to Aston Villa for £20m. That should inspire everyone, not just me.
‘That’s my plan: to work my a*se off, enjoy every minute of it and get as many games as possible.’
The 25-year-old shot-stopper admits he needed very little convincing once Arsenal made their interest known earlier this summer.
‘I spoke to everybody: Edu, Mikel and Inaki [Cana],’ Runarsson explained.
‘They didn’t have to convince me too much but I wanted to hear what their plan was for me because I am at a prime age as a footballer.
‘That was important to me that they were thinking the same way I was.
‘It was amazing, the first call I got, I couldn’t believe it was really happening.
‘Now, I am starting to get used to the idea that I am playing for such an amazing club.
‘When you go into a big club then you need to settle as quickly as possible as they can’t afford any errors.’
‘I know it is going to be hard but I will work for it for every minute and do what’s necessary to get as many games as possible.
‘I think the only person I can rely on for this is myself, so I know that and I will try to do it.’