Bernd Leno is a Problem
Sometimes, happily ever after stories don’t last. When we signed Bernd Leno several seasons ago and he promptly took over from Petr Cech as first choice, no one expected for things to change this much. We were set for a long time with the German. Until the club started having ambitions of playing modern football with a modern goalkeeper.
Now that we are linked to a modern goalkeeper from Ajax, albeit with some question marks, Bernd Leno has little place left in the future of the club. His distribution is quite insufficient and his traditional goalkeeping is not of such quality that it would be problematic to let him go. Emi Martinez, for instance, was as good a shotstopper while being commanding aerially and very good at passing out the ball. Bernd Leno only has his shotstopping going for him and that is, quite frankly, not enough anymore.
However, the links to Andre Onana has dried up ever since UEFA disciplinary board reduced his sentence. Reports say that Ajax are waiting on a bid from us having already sorted out a replacement. Other clubs are rumored to be interested but have not made any significant approach. So the question on everybody’s lips is why are we dragging this out?
The simple answer is Bernd Leno, again. It is not wise when doing transfers to sign a replacement while the player that is meant to be replaced is still at the club. That puts you at a great disadvantage when trying to sell the player as the buying club know that you have to sell so they can negotiate a better price for themselves. It is not that a club the size of Arsenal will suffer great damage by the poor sale of one player. However, it sets a precedent as well as making the decision-makers look poor at their jobs. For that reason and a little more, Arsenal would like to sell Leno before securing the signing of his replacement.
The problem with Leno, however, is that the market is dry for him. Most clubs simply are not looking for a new, starting goalkeeper, and in a financial year devastated by the impact of COVID-19, it’s a little bit difficult to move him.
And that is the problem Bernd Leno represents. He represents the old Arsenal that was full of players who were just alright and not good enough to compete at the highest levels of where the club hopes to be. Average players on insane wages with an inflated ego, which makes it problematic to move them off.
Some fans are of the opinion that we can still make do with Leno. But they ignore the fact that we are going to be playing a precise pattern of football going forward that simply doesn’t allow for mistakes, especially from the goalkeeper. If we continue with Leno, no matter who else we get, we’ll be limping into a new season.