Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has set the record straight over the situation with Bernd Leno but the goalkeeper is not prepared to warm the bench for too long.
Leno, 29, has been the Gunners undisputed number one for the past three seasons. He signed a five-year deal when arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2018. Capped nine times by Germany, the former Stuttgart youth star has made 121 appearances in all competitions for the north Londoners.
But the arrival of Aaron Ramsdale has put a spanner in the works regarding his career. Leno was given the nod for the first three Premier League games of the campaign.
But, after a trio of defeats and nine goals conceded, Arteta opted to play Ramsdale between the posts. Signed from Sheffield United in August, the 23-year-old has let in just one goal as Arsenal’s fortunes have improved.
They have won three consecutive top-flight matches to sit in 10th spot. There is now a logjam of top-class keepers at the Emirates and Leno is not happy.
He spoke to the German media over the issue and suggested Arteta had not told him why he was dropped. However the Spanish tactician has now responded and made it clear that all involved had been informed of his decision.
“I had a very clear conversation with him 48 hours before I was going to make the decision,” he said, per The Express. “Obviously any conversation I have with him is completely private and I’m not going to speak with any media about it.”
And when asked how he feels Leno should respond, Arteta suggested he just keeps on doing the basics correctly.
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“Train the way he does, be the way he is, the person he is, the way he handles himself, and try to help the other keepers and the other keepers try to help him,” he added.
Leno hits at winter exit
Leno was first choice during seven seasons with Leverkusen. He is not used to playing second fiddle and does not appear to be the type of character to take it lying down.
And he hinted to Bild that decisions will need to be taken in January if the status quo remains.
“There was no clear reason why I was out, but it had nothing to do with my performance,” he said. “He is the trainer, he decides. Of course, it’s difficult for me.
“Only if nothing changes in my situation by winter would I have to think about things: what option do I have, how can I continue? I’m concentrating on my work in training; I can’t commit to anything else at the moment.
“London is very nice; Milan is not bad either and closer to my home Stuttgart.”