As a club that has been among the highest spending in the world this summer, eyes are trained on Arsenal. Fans of the Gunners, and fans of rivals, are keen to see what they can do to keep things moving. The club has been constant in the transfer window so far this summer, and has made some very impressive moves to rebuild the squad. Having missed out on the UEFA Champions League, the club has still managed to land some top players in the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira.
This has, though, opened the door for some major exits from the club. One player almost guaranteed to be leaving is Bernd Leno. The German international has agreed terms on a move to Fulham, and will join the Cottagers ahead of the new season. An agreement is now reaching the final stages, with Leno signing a deal with the Cottagers until 2025 – with the option of a one-year extension.
For Arsenal, Leno was at one stage a fine player. However, he hit a poor run of form, was displaced by Aaron Ramsdale, and now looks set to be rather unceremoniously sold on. It might be a shame to see a player who has committed so much to the club move on, but his high wages and the potential to move on an unhappy player is not something Arsenal can really ignore.
A fee of around £10m is expected to be agreed, though most reports suggest Arsenal might need to climb down slightly from that figure if they want to guarantee a deal.
Possible interest from Leicester City, too
Another interesting angle has come out in recent days, too. Leicester City are set to lose Kasper Schmeichel, who is joining Nice in France. The Foxes have been known fans of Leno in the past, and could make a move for him to compete with Fulham. This could help to keep the Leno fee higher. But the other hope is that Arsenal could use the Foxes interest in Leno to their own advantage.
With the Gunners clearly still intrigued by the signing of Youri Tielemans, Arsenal could use Leno as some form of makeweight. Or they could offer to take a smaller fee for Leno from Leicester in exchange for doing a deal for Tielemans. Given how much Gunners fans want to see the Belgian in red and white next year, this is far more appealing than simply offloading the German to Fulham.
For Arsenal, though, the aim has to be to ensure that high earning non-performers like Leno are gone by the end of August. While the German has been a fondly liked member of the team by some fans, it is fair to say that Ramsdale produced a better season than Leno has been capable of in North London.
Any figure approaching or above eight figures should be taken with glee. It is time to move on from Leno, regardless of where he ends up: if he can help to land Tielemans, though, then he will be even more fondly recalled.