Bernd Leno is one of several Arsenal stars expected to depart the Emirates this summer following a season which saw him become second choice to newcomer Aaron Ramsdale.
The German international established himself as a reliable number one over a three-year period after joining in a £19.2m move, but Ramesdale’s arrival and his following performances soon meant Mikel Arteta had a new favourite in town.
Subsequently, Leno made just eight starts in all competitions during the 2021/22 campaign, and now he is set to find a new club as a result. The 30-year-old also has one year left on his current deal, so Arsenal are understandably keen on securing a fee for him while they still can. The incoming arrival of Matt Turner from New England Revolution is also a key factor, with the USMNT shot-stopper expected to be his replacement.
Despite falling behind in the pecking order in north London, Leno is still attracting plenty of interest, and the emergence of fresh transfer talks could result in a positive outcome for all parties involved. Benfica are said to have been circling, but Portuguese outlet Correio da Manha reported that Arsenal’s £8.5m asking price is too high, leading to claims that it could be lowered in order to get a deal completed.
However, The Athletic is now reporting that newly-promoted Fulham are in talks to sign the goalkeeper. It’s said that Leno is their preferred option, and the player is thought to be keen on staying in London, but nothing has been agreed as of yet.
The good news for Arsenal is that Fulham will not be short for cash at the moment. Their promotion would have boosted finances, in addition to the sales of Fabio Carvalho and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, which are said to have raised around £17m combined.
Arsenal’s reported £8.5m valuation of Bernd Leno might already seem low to some considering his quality, but a move to Benfica for an even lower fee would have been far from ideal. Fulham, meanwhile, should have no problem matching that price.
Arteta and technical director Edu will look to move on fringe players over the coming months, with Hector Bellerin, Pablo Mari, Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Nicolas Pepe all expected to depart. Despite this, there will be an understanding within the walls of London Colney that fees from player sales may not raise significant amounts due to their contract situations and roles at the club.
It means that efforts must be made to get the best deals possible, and sticking to their guns when it comes to asking prices must be maintained. Matteo Guendouzi is expected to complete a permanent switch to Marseille worth around £10m, and if Arsenal get what they want for Leno, that will already be nearly £20m raised.
With it expected to be another busy summer in terms of incomings too, the club will be keen to receive as much as possible in order to boost funds for further reinforcements, and Leno’s potential move to Fulham could help them do just that.