Matt Turner, the Revolution and US national team goalkeeper, is about to complete a transfer to Arsenal FC as his storybook career enters a new chapter.
Turner recently settled the salary terms, but the deal hinged on the Revolution agreeing to a transfer fee, which has been finalized, Revolution sporting director/head coach Bruce Arena said Thursday.
Now, the only holdup is when Turner will be released.
Turner could remain with the Revolution through June, which means he would miss the remainder of the Premier League season but could play the first half of the MLS season, plus CONCACAF Champions League matches.
Turner, 27, who started in goal for the US against El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday night, was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year last season.
Turner went from unrecruited high school player (St. Joseph’s Regional in Montvale, N.J.) to Fairfield University to undrafted free agent signing with the Revolution in 2016. He earned a starting role with the Revolution in 2018 and made his international debut last year, totaling 10 shutouts in 13 games for the US before Thursday.
Turner, who earned the MLS minimum salary his first two years with the Revolution, has signed contract extensions the last two years, and at $375,000 annually is ranked No. 18 among MLS goalkeepers in salary.
But because of MLS salary restrictions, the Revolution would have difficulty matching Arsenal’s offer. The Gunners’ first-team average pay is $6.1 million; three Arsenal players’ salaries exceed the total annual payroll of the Revolution roster (about $12 million).
Arsenal has been seeking a replacement for German goalkeeper Bernd Leno, who has been relegated to backup status behind Aaron Ramsdale, but wanted to wait until Leno secured a move before adding Turner. Arsenal is not looking to displace Ramsdale, 23, as the starter, so Turner likely will have to be content with watching and waiting once he joins the team.
Arsenal has been eliminated from cup competitions this year but there could be more opportunities for Turner next season, especially if the Gunners qualify for European play. The top five Premier League teams advance to European cups, and Arsenal (11-7-3, 36 points) stands in sixth place, a point behind West Ham United.
Though Turner will likely have to take on a low-profile role, he could receive exposure, leading to a move to another first-division club, either on loan or on another transfer. Working in Turner’s favor are his number of US team caps plus a Lithuanian passport.
But if Turner takes on a reserve role, it could affect his standing on the US national team. Turner took on the starting position after Zack Steffen moved to Manchester City, where he has been a backup since 2019.
Salary and transfer numbers have not been confirmed for Turner.
Leno’s salary is listed at $7 million, Ramsdale $4.3 million, and Steffen $3.2 million. The highest-paid MLS keeper is Atlanta’s Brad Guzan at $805,000, according to the MLS Players Association.
Ramsdale’s value in the transfer market is listed at $27.5 million, Leno’s at $17.60 million, Turner’s at $3.5 million, according to www.transfermarkt.com. Steffen gained a $7.5 million transfer from the Columbus Crew to Manchester City in 2019.
Turner would become the fourth US-born player to compete for Arsenal after Folarin Balogun, Danny Karbassiyoon, and Frankie Simek. Doug Farquhar played for Arsenal before joining the US national team in 1959, and current New York City FC midfielder Gedion Zelalem was born in Berlin, grew up in Maryland, and played for US junior national teams.
The Revolution roster lists four goalkeepers: Turner, Brad Knighton, Earl Edwards Jr., and draft pick Jacob Jackson.