Arsenal complete deal to sign highly rated German goalkeeper from Bayer Leverkusen
Arsenal manager Unai Emery has made his second transfer since joining the Gunners in May, signing Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno for over €20 million.
Leno, who was reportedly also in transfer negotiations with Napoli and Atletico Madrid, signed for Leverkusen in 2011 and is highly-rated in the Bundesliga, making 230 appearances in just over seven seasons there.
The 26-year-old has amassed six caps for his native Germany where he was considered neck-and-neck with Marc-Andre ter Stegen as Manuel Neuer’s understudy until recently, with the Barcelona goalkeeper now pulling ahead.
Leno became the youngest goalkeeper ever in the Champions League when he featured in Leverkusen’s group stage game against Chelsea at just 19 years and 193 days old. He was also part of the Germany squad that won the 2017 Confederations Cup.
Arsenal were in the market for a potential successor of Petr Cech (36) this summer, and new manager Emery, who already signed Juventus right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner, said that Leno is the perfect solution.
"We are very pleased that Bernd Leno will be joining us," he said.
"Bernd is a goalkeeper of high quality and experience. He has been a top performer and regular number one goalkeeper with Leverkusen in the Bundesliga for the past seven years.
"We are all excited that Bernd has chosen Arsenal Football Club and look forward to start working with him in pre-season."
Speaking about signing for his new club, Leno, whose jersey number has not yet been decided, said that he is excited to play for a club of Arsenal's calibre and he hopes to bring silverware back to the Emirates.
"I’m proud to sign for Arsenal. For me it’s a dream to play for Arsenal," he said.
"I think the history of the club, the fans, the quality of the club and of the team is so good. I’ll try to help the team to come back to the Champions League and to win some trophies. Arsenal belong in the Champions League.
"I was excited and proud too (when signing), because Arsenal is such a big club all over the world. In Germany, Arsenal are so famous and when I heard it, I was a little bit nervous but at that moment it was clear for me: I wanted to sign for Arsenal."