Arsenal have identified Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Unai Simon as a potential target, as they look to replace Bernd Leno in the summer.
According to La Razon, Arsenal are eyeing a summer swoop for Unai Simon. It appears the Gunners are keen on signing a new goalkeeper to replace Bernd Leno, with the Athletic Bilbao custodian emerging as a potential option.
One of the many homegrown talents available at Bilbao’s disposal, Simon has had a rapid rise to prominence over the past few years. He was invariably the successor of a certain Kepa Arrizabalaga, who moved to Chelsea in 2018 for a large sum.
Ever since, Simon has become a first-choice goalkeeper for Bilbao, notching up 87 competitive appearances. He has performed consistently in the top-flight, notably attaining a save percentage of 76% last season and helping his club reach the final of Copa Del Rey in both the 2019/20 and 2020/21 campaign, although the Basque outfit ended up losing both.
As such, Simon could soon follow the footsteps of his predecessor and move to London, with Arsenal now reportedly keen on his services this summer.
While the Gunners usually do have a strong goalkeeping unit, they have been left disappointed by the performances of Bernd Leno this season. The German was particularly faulty in his last game against Everton, with his error leading to a narrow 1-0 for the Arsenal.
Leno has also attained a save percentage rate of only 67.9%, which is a steep decline from his tally of 77% last season. As a result, he was even benched in Arsenal’s draw with Fulham, with head coach Mikel Arteta giving a rare opportunity for Mat Ryan, who is now being linked with a permanent switch to Emirates this summer.
It also raises question marks over Leno’s future, especially with Arsenal keeping an eye on Unai Simon, who is more than capable of emerging as the first-choice ‘keeper for the Gunners.
The 25-year-old, though, has also had a slightly disappointing campaign compared to last season. In addition, Arsenal will be sceptical of paying a large sum for Simon, as they look to avoid the mistake Chelsea made.
Fortunately for the north London giants, though, the Spaniard’s current contract at Bilbao expires at the end of next season, so he is likely to be available for a cut-price this summer.