Arsenal take first step towards huge West Ham raid, as Bernd Leno begins talks with London rival

West Ham trio Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen

Arsenal have contacted the representatives of West Ham ace Jarrod Bowen, while goalkeeper Bernd Leno is in talks over a move to another London side, per multiple reports.

The Gunners’ outlook for the summer window was made more difficult than it should’ve been. Arsenal were pipped to fourth spot by Tottenham, something that could have a lasting impact on who they are and aren’t able to sign this summer.

Indeed, the latest on Youri Tielemans suggested the Leicester midfielder has dropped his UCL demand. While that’s good news for Arsenal, the lack of Champions League football may wind up scuppering their move for Gabriel Jesus.

Mikel Arteta is seeking at least two new faces to add firepower to his depleted forward line.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was never replaced in January after top target Dusan Vlahovic chose Juventus. Alexandre Lacazette’s exit was also recently confirmed with the Frenchman wasting little time before re-joining Lyon.

And with Tottenham reportedly in advanced negotiations with Richarlison, the onus is on Arsenal to ensure they’re not left behind.

Now, the Beautiful Game Podcast has claimed Arsenal have opened talks with the representatives of Jarrod Bowen.

The West Ham flyer, 25, enjoyed a break-out season last year, plundering 18 goals and 13 assists across all competitions.

West Ham and England player Jarrod Bowen

Bowen scooped the West Ham Players’ Player of the Year award ahead of Declan Rice and received his maiden England call-up for the Nations League clashes.

Details beyond Arsenal’s initial approach are thin on the ground, suggesting any potential move is in its infancy. However, the tweet that revealed the news did add Bowen is on Arsenal’s shortlist of winger targets that also includes Raphinha.

The Leeds ace was first linked with the Gunners on Friday by the reliable Telegraph.

Leno in talks with Fulham

On the exits end, the Athletic report wantaway goalkeeper Bernd Leno is in talks with Fulham.

The German quickly lost his place to Aaron Ramsdale following his arrival from Sheffield United last summer.

Leno was persistently linked with an exit in January, though was made to bide his time with a way out not materialising.

However, the 30-year-old has just 12 months remaining on his contract, meaning the time is right for Arsenal to sever ties.

Leno is reportedly the favoured target of the Fulham hierarchy, though it’s acknowledged a deal is in the early stages at present. Indeed, it’s expressly stated nothing has been agreed as yet.

However, one added note in Fulham’s favour is the claim Leno wishes to remain in London where he is settled.

Can Arsenal really sign Bowen?

Bowen’s deal with West Ham does not expire until 2025. That puts the Hammers in a strong bargaining position and their stance over Declan Rice suggest a deal won’t be made easy.

Indeed, West Ham have gone on record to state the bidding for Rice must start at £150m. While Bowen’s fee won’t be as high, the Hammers have no reason to sell on the cheap.

What’s more, Arsenal cannot offer the lure of Champions League football that would’ve appealed to Bowen.

Additionally, he has repeatedly drawn links with Liverpool in the event Mohamed Salah departs next summer.

That, combined with the fact Bukayo Saka is already established on the right wing, makes a Bowen deal highly unlikely this summer.