Arsenal have (finally) reached an agreement with Fulham to sell Bernd Leno for a transfer fee in the neighborhood of £8M. The German keeper has been in the shop window all summer but wanted to remain in London, which severely limited potential transfer destinations. Personal terms are already in place between Leno and Fulham, and he’s expected to undergo a medical sometime this week before finalizing the deal.
The writing has been on the wall for Leno since Arsenal signed Aaron Ramsdale at the end of last August. Shortly thereafter, Leno lost the #1 spot to the new signing, sealing his future (or lack thereof) with the club. Leno is too good of a keeper to be a backup, especially in a World Cup year where he’s trying to make the German national team. He wants to play, and I don’t blame him in the slightest.
Fulham are getting a fantastic deal. Leno is a great shot-stopper and a Premier League proven keeper. He’s worth at least double the £8M they’re paying, and they even got Arsenal to come down a bit more from the Gunners’ reported £10M asking price.
It’s not bad business from Arsenal. It’s just business. The Gunners had little negotiating power and made what they could out of a tough hand. Leno is in the final year of his deal. He’d walk for free next June. He wanted to stay in London. Arsenal’s options were limited and getting something is better than getting nothing.
I hope Bernd has a great season for Fulham, save for the two matches in which he faces the Gunners. He was a fantastic player for Arsenal — alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, he won a lot of points for the club with outstanding individual performances backstopping some pretty meager lineups. He handled his demotion last season professionally, too. He didn’t make a fuss, went about his business, and kept a clean sheet against Aston Villa last spring when he had to fill-in for an injured Aaron Ramsdale. You can’t really ask for much more.