Premier League transfer news: Bernd Leno open to Arsenal exit

  • Tom Kelly
Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno

Bernd Leno is reportedly willing to leave Arsenal despite Mikel Arteta favouring the German over Emiliano Martinez last summer. 

The Spanish manager placed his trust in Leno following Martinez's departure in September. However, it seems that this decision has ultimately backfired. 

What's the latest? 

The Times has reported that Leno is open to a new adventure and revealed there hasn't been any talks regarding extending his stay at Arsenal

The German stopper's contract is due to expire in the summer of 2023, which means he will have two years left on his deal at the Emirates come June. 

This may come as quite a surprise to Arsenal fans, as Arteta placed his trust in the German stopper when he allowed Martinez to leave last summer.

What happened with Martinez?

After being at the club for nearly a decade, Martinez earned his chance in the Arsenal team during Project Restart after Leno suffered an injury against Brighton & Hove Albion. 

The Argentine became a prominent figure in the Arsenal first team and started in last season's FA Cup final triumph. However, when the 2020/21 season started Arteta apparently couldn't guarantee that Martinez would be the Gunners' starting goalkeeper. 

According to the Evening Standard, Martinez asked to depart the Emirates via text and pleaded with the Spaniard to let him go to Aston Villa. 

The 28-year-old also went on record to thank his former manager and claimed Arteta was an instrumental figure in facilitating his departure from the club.

However, as we approach the end of the 2020/21 season, it does seem like Arteta's decision to favour Leno has now blown up in his face. 

How have the two players performed this season? 

In comparison to the rest of the Premier League, it's clear to see that Leno, who earns £100,000 a week at Arsenal, has been solid but rather unspectacular this season. 

According to FBRef, the former Bayer Leverkusen man has recorded a save percentage of 68.6%, which ranks him in 13th in the English top-flight. 

Furthermore, during Arsenal games where Leno has featured between the sticks, the north London side have only managed to keep a clean sheet in 30% of these fixtures. 

Martinez, on the other hand, has been a revelation for Villa. 

In terms of save percentage, Martinez has recorded an impressive 78.4%, which is nearly ten percent higher than his former team-mate. Moreover, this is the highest save percentage of any goalkeeper in the Premier League. 

Only Ederson and Edouard Mendy have kept more clean sheets than the former Arsenal man. 

Arteta's big mistake? 

Arsenal are really paying the price for Arteta's decision to favour Leno over Martinez in more ways than one. 

Martinez has excelled since his departure from the club, whereas Leno has been reliable but not exactly uprooted any trees. 

But now, Arsenal may even lose the goalkeeper who was essentially chosen ahead of Martinez and with second-choice Mat Ryan only at the club on loan, they could end up needing a complete revamp of the goalkeeping department this summer. 

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Francis Coquelin

Francis Coquelin

All the while, Martinez continues to impress for a side just a point behind the Gunners in the Premier League table. 

This whole situation could've been avoided if Arteta had just stuck with a player who had more than demonstrated his quality during his run in the starting XI. 

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