Bernd Leno and Arsenal: Exit Imminent?

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Bernd Leno has likely reached the end of his tenure with Arsenal. The North London club will be looking to sell him, as the German has fallen behind Aaron Ramsdale in the picking order. 

Leno arrived at the Emirates from Leverkusen in 2018. During the otherwise underwhelming tenure of Unai Emery, Leno stood as a bright spot. He often made crucial saves to keep Arsenal in games. Ther double save against Spurs in the North London derby at Wembley immediately comes to mind. He has made 101 appearances for the Gunners in total, securing 25 clean sheets.

This season, however, Leno found himself on the sidelines. New signing Aaron Ramsdale took his place after a 5-0 battering of the Gunners at the Etihad in September. Ramsdale established himself as the first choice shortly, even getting an England call up. Leno on the other hand went on to make a single appearance in the Premier League following the City game. 

Leno went on record to say that it was a tough time for him. He spoke to Goal about losing his place and was quoted saying:

It was a setback and a bitter moment. But that’s sport, you have to accept that. It wasn’t easy, but I couldn’t feel sorry for myself, I wanted to attack again immediately. I don’t want to say I was a pawn, but when the results aren’t right, sometimes things happen quickly in football. The coach wanted to set a new impulse – and then the results came. That was bitter for me, because I had held up well before that.

What Happened to Leno?

According to Paul Brown from the Daily Star, Mikel Arteta does not trust the keeper. He is a very different player compared to the profile demanded by the Spanish tactician. Although he is proficient at shot-stopping, his distribution has been under scrutiny for a long time. Ramsdale specializes with the ball at his feet and hence was preferred.

Maybe the decision to replace the German was justified. After the first three weeks, the Gunners were at the foot of the league. They conceded 9 goals and failed to register one of their own. An upturn was seen in their fortunes following that. 

This, however, does not take away anything from Leno. He is still a fabulous keeper, and with a year in his contract, would be looking to move elsewhere to get regular game time. 

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