Bernd Leno has closed the chapter at Arsenal FC and joined the promoted Fulham FC. He is likely to have two goals in mind.
After 101 Premier League games and a total of four years at Arsenal FC, Bernd Leno’s chapter at the Gunners is over. The 30-year-old will remain loyal to English football and will move to Fulham FC with immediate effect.
The move had been in the offing for several weeks, with Leno losing his position as number one goalkeeper for the Gunners to 24-year-old Englishman Aaron Ramsdale last season:
“It was a setback and a bitter moment. I had never experienced anything like that before in my career,” Leno explained in an interview with SPOX and Goal. Now the former Leverkusen man is signing for city rivals FC Fulham – with two hopes attached.
On the one hand, Leno wants to be back between the posts as number one in the first step. But at the traditional club from London, founded in 1879, he might also want to recommend himself for higher tasks.
With good and consistent performances, he could also play his way back onto the notepad of national coach Hansi Flick. Leno, who trained at VfB Stuttgart, is certainly eager to be part of the DFB team at the Winter World Cup in Qatar.
Once on a par with Ter Stegen
What would have been considered highly likely a few years ago is now more than questionable. Leno, who competed on equal terms with Marc-Andre Ter Stegen for second place in the German goal behind Manuel Neuer in the run-up to the 2016 European Football Championship in France, has slipped through the DFB’s goalkeeping hierarchy.
At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Kevin Trapp took Leno’s place in the World Cup squad, and at last year’s European Championship, Leno only made the DFB squad due to Marc-Andre Ter Stegen’s knee injury.
Leno now only DFB goalkeeper number four
A participation in the World Cup in Qatar seemed impossible as a demoted goalkeeper for Arsenal FC, but now the 30-year-old hopes for new chances. These are nevertheless likely to be slim, after all Hansi Flick has spoken out about a clear hierarchy in the DFB goal:
“We have a clear order in our goal,” Flick explained during a World Cup qualifier in March. So far, Leno is only fourth in the order, while his main rival for the third place in the squad, Frankfurt’s Trapp, had an outstanding season last season, which he crowned by winning the UEFA Europa League.
For now, though, Leno is relishing his new start at Craven Cottage, with the ex-Leverkusen man signing a contract until 2025 with the option to extend for a further twelve months:
“I’m relieved that everything is done. I’m just happy to be here. It took a little while, but in the end we got it done and that’s the most important thing,” Leno is quoted as saying by Fulham FC.
Debut against Klopp?
The Cottagers, as the club is also known, paid around eight million pounds (9.57 million euros) to their city rivals to secure the German’s services.
It remains to be seen whether Leno will move straight into goal for coach Marco Silva’s team. This weekend, the Premier League starts its new season, with Fulham FC playing host to runners-up Liverpool FC, coached by Jürgen Klopp.