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Recently, Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller told Kicker (h/t Football Italia) there’s little the Bundesliga side can do should someone match the trigger amount in the 26-year-old’s current contract.
“This is all just speculation,” Voller said of the interest. “Nothing is decided yet. It’s true there’s a release clause though, so if someone paid it there’s nothing we could do about it.”
Leno has been the main man between the sticks at Leverkusen for years, having joined the club from Stuttgart in 2011 and made 230 appearances for his current club in the Bundesliga. Recently, as relayed by DW Sports, the man himself admitted a new challenge would intrigue him:
DW Sports @dw_sports
5 short of making his 300th appearance for @bayer04_en, Bernd Leno is keeping his options open. Where would he be a good fit? https://t.co/Qd2D2kX0al
Early in his Leverkusen career there were signs that Leno had what’s required to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world, as he was fearless and fantastic between the sticks.
Although his stock remains high among many, he’s never quite been able to kick on and reach those heights. Additionally, errors have crept into his game on a much more regular basis. As WhoScored.com noted last summer, since 2014 he’s been guilty of a number of clangers:
Bernd Leno: No player has committed more errors that have led to an opposition goal than Leno (10) in the Bundesliga since August 2014 https://t.co/YI3fKpeUA8
Still, it’s clear there is a talent to work with and in the right circumstances Leno might yet realise his potential. A new challenge may be the catalyst for that process, especially at a club like Arsenal.
When they landed Cech ahead of the 2015-16 season, Arsenal appeared to have solved their longstanding goalkeeping issues. But the veteran’s form has slipped since his move from Chelsea and this season, in particular, he’s cost the Gunners dear with some poor decisions.
As noted by Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News, Cech hasn’t inspired the defence in front of him:
Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst
Poor again from Petr Cech. Claimed a few assists for the opposition this season. Says a lot about Wenger’s Arsenal they are cracking against this CSKA side.
With Ospina also erratic, the replacement for manager Arsene Wenger may well look at bringing in a new stopper this summer.
The Gunners require someone who will bring longevity and assurance to the role if they are to build a better defence in years to come. While Leno would potentially be a long-term option for the north London club, it’s been a long time since he gave off the aura of an authoritative goalkeeper.