Premier League • England

Arsenal transfer news: Leno exit ramps up amid surprise price reveal; Maitland-Niles to get Prem redemption

Arsenal stars Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bernd Leno

Two Arsenal exits within the Premier League are taking shape after updates emerged on the futures of Bernd Leno and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Leno, 30, lost his place to Aaron Ramsdale just three matches after he arrived from Sheffield Utd. Ramsdale has not looked back since and has gone on to establish himself in Gareth Southgate’s England set-up.

Maitland-Niles, meanwhile, has never truly made his mark in north London.

The 24-year-old harbours ambitions of establishing himself in midfield, though has often been deployed as a full-back or wing-back throughout his career.

Maitland-Niles was loaned out to Roma last season, though Jose Mourinho did not see enough to want to make the deal permanent.

Both players will see their Arsenal contracts expire in the summer of 2023. As such, the Gunners must sell this summer or run the risk of losing saleable assets for nothing 12 months later.

The Athletic recently reported Leno has opened talks over a cross-London switch to Fulham.

Sky Sports back up those claims, noting American Matt Turner will arrive on July 1 to become Ramsdale’s new deputy.

The initial Athletic report claimed Leno is keen to remain in the capital – something that could aid Fulham’s cause.

Leno available for bargain price?

Football London add their take to the story, and citing the Portuguese press, claim Arsenal will seek just £8.5m for the German.

That information stems from a report that detailed Benfica’s interest in the stopper. However, the reported £8.5m fee is too high for Benfica to act.

£8.5m for a player of Leno’s calibre appears low on paper. Indeed he was signed for £22.5m in 2018 and aged 30, he is not old for a goalkeeper.

However, the low price is likely a consequence of Arsenal allowing him to enter the final 12 months of his deal.

Regarding Maitland-Niles, a second Football London report puts Nottingham Forest in the frame.

Pablo Mari embracing Ainsley Maitland-Niles

The newly-promoted side are seeking a permanent capture which will be music to Arsenal’s ears given his contract status.

Forest could lose Djed Spence to Tottenham, thus opening up a slot for Maitland-Niles to fill at right wing-back. However, it’s acknowledged any deal is in the early stages at present.

Maitland-Niles has repeatedly gone on record to stress his desire to feature far more regularly than he does. If Forest strike an agreement, he may finally get the chance to prove his worth in England.

Arsenal right to clear the decks

Despite the disappointing way in which their season concluded, the common consensus is Mikel Arteta is leading Arsenal in the right direction.

Yet players from previous eras still litter the club’s books. While Leno and Maitland-Niles are hardly big issues, they are both surplus to requirements for the current boss.

Axing the pair this summer makes perfect sense, especially if deals can be wrapped up quickly and the cash generated reinvested in new arrivals.

On that front, Arsenal’s primary options in midfield and attack – Youri Tielemans and Gabriel Jesus – won’t come cheap.

Tielemans could cost between £25m-£30m even with just 12 months left on his Leicester contract. Jesus, meanwhile, could be the subject of a bidding war between Arsenal and Chelsea and is unlikely to move for less than £50m.

What’s more, without the lure of Champions League football, Arsenal may need to sweeten that particular deal financially.