The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at Bernd Leno’s three potential destinations, as Arsenal look to offload their German custodian this summer.
Over the past couple of years, Arsenal have been embroiled in a tricky and difficult situation, as far as the transfer market is concerned. The Gunners have tried to sign certain players to fix certain holes in their playing eleven, but none of their marquee signings in Nicolas Pepe, Thomas Partey or even Gabriel Magalhaes have managed to set the world alight.
As a result, the north Londoners are gearing up for a radical squad overhaul in the upcoming summer window, as they look to offload most of their prominent first-team members in favour of a whole new set of new players who are more suited to Mikel Arteta’s tactical philosophy.
According to a report from a local news outlet, Football.London, one of those key first-team players facing an uncertain future at Emirates could be Bernd Leno. Along with Hector Bellerin, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the German has emerged in the list of players who could be offloaded in the summer.
It is hardly surprising, as the Gunners have been linked with a move for a new goalkeeper, including Unai Simon recently, but here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at Leno’s future and where the former Bayer Leverkusen custodian could possibly end up, should he leave Emirates this summer.
Paris Saint-Germain can have no complaints about the performances of Keylor Navas and the success he had since joining from Real Madrid. Indeed, the Costa Rican international has emerged as one of the best performing goalkeepers in Europe’s top five leagues, racking up a save percentage rate of almost 80% – higher than the 72% he managed last season.
However, Navas did not exactly set the world alight with his performance against Manchester City, looking extremely shaky in between the sticks and making one error in judgment that led to the crucial equaliser from Kevin de Bruyne in the first leg.
Moreover, at the age of 34, Navas does not offer much prospect for the future, and that is why PSG might be keen on securing the services of someone like Bernd Leno. With over 300 competitive appearances with Bayer Leverkusen and almost 100 outings in the Premier League, the Arsenal ‘keeper has a vast experience of playing at the highest level of football and has generally performed well at the Emirates.
The German most notably attained a save percentage of over 75%. His form has dipped in the ongoing campaign, but the native from Bietigheim-Bissingen certainly has the quality to develop into a star performer for PSG in goal for years to come.
The 29-year-old’s contract also expires in 2023 and considering his performances, he could be available for a cut-price, making him an ideal target for Les Parisien, as Mauricio Pochettino looks to plug the gaps in the summer.
Borussia Dortmund are another club desperately searching for a goalkeeper this summer, as they look to move on from Roman Burki. The former SC Freiburg custodian has been ostracized from the first-team by interim head coach Edin Terzic, though he is expected to keep for Dortmund, in the upcoming DFB Pokal final against RB Leipzig, in light of Marwin Hitz’s injury on the weekend.
Speaking of Hitz, the Swiss international is not highly rated in the Dortmund camp, even though he has been the number one in the Ruckrunde so far. It ideally paves the way for someone like Leno to return to the Bundesliga, by joining the Black and Yellows.
As mentioned earlier, the German has a lot of experience in the Bundesliga, with over 300 competitive appearances for Leverkusen. Although the goalkeeper does have a track record of making unforced defensive errors from time to time, he could certainly be a step up from Burki and Hitz.
On top of that, the 29-year-old is unlikely to cost much, which bodes well for Dortmund as they look to reshape their goalkeeping unit in the upcoming summer transfer window.
Among all the available options, AC Milan could be the most logical destination for Bernd Leno and for multiple reasons. For one, and perhaps most importantly, the Rossoneri, unlike PSG and Dortmund, are set to lose their number one goalkeeper in Gianluigi Donnarumma this summer, with the Italian unlikely to extend a contract that expires at the end of the season.
Donnarumma has been linked with a move to Manchester United and Juventus among clubs this summer, but his departure could create an ideal opportunity for Leno to try his luck in Serie A next season.
As mentioned multiple times, the German international has a lot of experience at the highest level of football, as well as a proven track record. His experience could be useful for a Milan side that will hope to mount a bigger challenge for the title next season.
From the player’s perspective, a move to San Siro will provide Leno with the opportunity of competing in the UEFA Champions League, as well as regular game-time – unlike at PSG or Dortmund, where he will have to compete with either a Keylor Navas or Marwin Hitz.
With Milan likely to lose Donnarumma on a free transfer, Leno’s contract situation could be appealing as well, especially in the current financial climate, making them an ideal destination for the German international, as he seeks a new adventure next season.