Mikel Arteta is reluctant to speculate on Mat Ryan’s future at Arsenal beyond his initial loan, with the Aussie keeper still tied with a contract at Brighton.
The Gunners have made adding another sniper a top priority for the January transfer window.
Ryan, who has three seasons of Premier League experience with Brighton, will see the 2020-21 campaign in North London.
The childhood Arsenal supporter is thrilled to have earned the change, but it remains to be seen what role he will play at Emirates Stadium.
Bernd Leno is the Gunners’ No.1 between the sticks, meaning competitive playing time may be limited in the remaining weeks of the season.
An extended stay would give Ryan more chances to fight for a few minutes, but Arteta gives little to his long-term plans.
The Spaniard told reporters when asked about his latest addition ahead of the trip to Southampton on Tuesday: “He is a player who knows the league very well.
“He’s played so many games, he’s got international experience, he’s the right age, he competed regularly until December I think, and we felt that with Matt Macey’s departure we needed a another keeper on the team to give more protection so we looked at the market and we wanted a loan deal and we decided to go with Mat because he had the right profile for us.
“This area of the team needs three goalkeepers and they have to compete, challenge each other and each will have their role.
“Once you have your role, you just need to support each other again to get the most out of each other. That’s the role, come here and try to improve it.
Asked if Ryan could stay beyond the summer, Arteta added, “I don’t know, he just arrived. It’s a loan deal and he still has a deal with Brighton and we’ll be evaluating to see how he performs, how he fits, what we need going forward. It is still too early to decide.
Ryan, who was signed by Brighton in 2017, made 123 appearances for the Seagulls with all but two of them coming in the England top flight.