Bernd Leno is reportedly one of four goalkeepers being looked at by Inter Milan for next summer as he waits to see how the arrival of Aaron Ramsdale will affect his Arsenal gametime.
Leno has been with Arsenal since 2018, when he joined from Bayer Leverkusen. He has been their number one ever since, seeing off competition from Emiliano Martinez before the Argentine’s move to Aston Villa. But he hasn’t always put in the performances to justify those decisions.
Were it not for the fact that Arsenal did not trust backup goalkeeper Alex Runarsson last season, Leno’s gametime may have decreased. They brought in Mat Ryan on loan in January as extra cover due to those concerns. Ultimately, though, the German remained first choice.
He now faces a bigger threat to his starting role, though, following the arrival of Ramsdale. The England international joined from Sheffield United late in the summer. Having cost more than £25m, it seems Arsenal have bigger plans for him.
Ramsdale kept a clean sheet on his debut, which was a win over West Brom in the Carabao Cup. Either side of that game, Leno let in seven goals across two Premier League matches. Although the blame is not entirely his, it does not make for promising reading from his perspective.
Only time will tell how Mikel Arteta manages the balance between the two shot-stoppers this season. But Leno is in the final year of his contract and the end of his time at the Emirates Stadium may be nigh.
As such, Tuttosport claim he is on Inter’s shortlist for the summer of 2022.
The Serie A champions have Samir Handanovic as their long-serving main keeper. However, even though they will look to extend his contract beyond 2022, they will do so on the basis that he will become more of a backup. He will be 38 next year, so Tuttosport suggest he could continue as a reliable deputy in the manner that Gianluigi Buffon did at Juventus recently, before his return to Parma.
Inter, therefore, will need a new, younger number one. Although they managed to sell some of their most valuable players and sign cheaper reinforcements, their financial problems are far from fully behind them. Therefore, they will be looking for bargain options.
With Leno set to become a free agent in 2022, he is someone they will consider. Likewise, they are keeping in mind Ajax’s Andre Onana, who was coincidentally linked with Arsenal before they opted for Ramsdale.
Alternatively, if they have more money to spend, they could look within the Italian market. Alessio Cragno of Cagliari and Alex Meret of Napoli are two names that may appeal. But they are both under longer term contracts, so would be more costly.
Interestingly, the three alternative options to Leno were all also suggested by SportMediaset recently. However, the German seems to be a new suggestion from Tuttosport.
Leno, who turns 30 in March, has made a total of 120 appearances for Arsenal across the years. He has kept 34 clean sheets in those games.
But Arsenal have made an important investment in Ramsdale and their long-term plans for Leno remain to be seen.
Arsenal transfer to be done by Thursday
Meanwhile, one Arsenal player could be leaving much sooner despite the transfer window closing in England.
There are still other territories in which the market remains open. Therefore, players can still be sold to those countries.
One of the places where transfers can be done for a few more days is Turkey. Their window shuts on September 8th.
Because of this, one Arsenal player is still facing an uncertain future. Mohamed Elneny is wanted by Beskitas, who previously had him on loan in the 2019-20 season.
According to NTV Spor, Besiktas have now made an official offer for Elneny. However, they need the deal to be done by Thursday if they are to register him on their Champions League squad list for the group stage.
Elneny featured fairly frequently last year, but Arsenal added Albert Sambi Lokonga to their midfield over the summer. In addition to the existing competition from Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey, opportunities may be more limited.
Therefore, Arsenal’s transfer activity may not be over for the summer just yet. However, it is not yet clear how – or when – they will respond to Besiktas’ offer.