Towards the close of the 2017/18 campaign, Arsenal had a problem with the goalkeeper position in the squad with veteran GK Petr Cech approaching retirement and the Gunners sought out a 26-year-old Bernd Leno from Bayern Leverkusen in a £22.5 million deal.
At the time, Leno was considered the next best keeper to come out of Germany since Manuel Neuer and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and transitioning from Cech to a young and experienced keeper such as Leno was considered a smart move by many.
The German began his first two and a half years in north London in stellar fashion with the keeper managing 22 clean sheets in the Premier League. While he stood out individually, this Arsenal side struggled to make any headway in the table in the post-Arsene Wenger era under Unai Emery.
Under Mikel Arteta, the London side tasted silverware once again as they won FA Cup (2020) and Community Shield (2021), with the finals both requiring solid shifts in goal. But while Leno has picked up these trophies, it was Emiliano Martinez who played in goal for both these games.
The departure of Emery who signed Leno, alongside one too many injuries since 2020 meant that Leno quickly grew out of favour for Arteta at Arsenal. His unfortunate ligament injury against Brighton in June 2020 was the final nail in the coffin as Martinez went on to perform so consistently that it earned him an Argentina starting spot as well.
Following Martinez’s departure, the club still remained unconvinced by Leno and went ahead to purchase Aaron Ramsdale from Sheffield United who at the moment remains Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper.
From racking up more than 30 appearances in his first 3 seasons to having just 4 in his last season, there has been much speculation that Leno is looking to leave Arsenal in search of minutes elsewhere. While Newcastle United and Benfica have been linked with a move for the German keeper, the 30-year-old revealed on Twitter that he had no plans to leave Arsenal.
As numerous sports stars and celebrities were present at Monaco for the Formula-1 race over the weekend, Leno too was spotted at the event with his wife Sophie Christin, with the duo supporting Lewis Hamilton for the race. In quite a comical fashion, Leno replied to a tweet claiming that the keeper had already said his goodbyes at the club.
“Breaking news: Bernd Leno joins @LewisHamilton @F1 Team. He was spotted yesterday in front his box in Monaco. Your source is not the best mate,” remarked Leno as he completely denied any plans for an exit this summer.
With Arsenal having secured Europa League football once again, perhaps Leno would be counting on Arteta to rotate the two keepers for both Europe and the league which would ensure more minutes for the German and a chance to prove his worth to the manager once again.