New Arsenal goalkeeper and Socceroos star Mat Ryan has revealed how his former Australia teammate Tim Cahill “planted the seed” for his loan move to the Gunners.
Ryan was being frozen out at Brighton having lost his place in the starting line up in December and dropped from the match-day squad entirely.
He was told he was allowed to find a new club during the January transfer window and ended up at Arsenal to compete with Bernd Leno and Alex Runarsson.
Ryan is yet to make his debut for the club but has impressed head coach Mikel Arteta with what he has shown in training so far.
“He’s settled really quickly. I was really impressed when I talked to him,” Arteta said. “He’s really focused, really engaged with what we want to do. He’s a very professional guy and he’s coming here to compete with Alex (Runarsson) and with Bernd (Leno).
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“That’s the mentality and the desire that we want for any player that joins our club.”
Arteta spoke to Cahill about the move to Arsenal, with the two having played together at Everton and the Australian being the Gunners boss’ best man at his wedding, and about the Socceroos No.1’s character as a person.
And Ryan believes it was that relationship which was the triggering factor in his move to one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League.
“The window was going along and I made a phone call to Tim Cahill – obviously very well-respected domestically, internationally, globally,” Ryan told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I know obviously his relationships with Everton, David Moyes at West Ham he had a close relationship with, and Mikel, I knew they were pretty close mates.
“It’s funny, from my experience in the game, just how a conversation can change the dynamic or circumstance of something.
“I explained my situation at Brighton, that I was being left out of the team and I just said, ‘man, are you able to just keep your ear to the ground out there and if someone happens to be looking for a goalkeeper, if you feel that I’m worthy or deserving of you to mention my name, I’d appreciate it bro if you could help me out.’
“He said, ‘alright, leave it with me and we’ll see what can happen.’ And it all eventuated after that. There’s no doubt, I think he planted the seed in Mikel’s head and Arsenal went about doing their homework a little bit and it seemed like the perfect fit.”