I think it’s fair to say that Arsenal hasn’t had a decent goalkeeper since the days of Jens Lehmann. Since then, Arsène Wenger has continuously signed average keepers that have not only made a mockery of the #1 shirt, but cost Arsenal points on multiple occasions.
The latest of those long line of failed GK signings is Petr Cech. The former Premier League winner was supposedly meant to bring the Gunners 15 points. Instead, he’s kept Arsenal to their two worst league finishes in Premier League history.
But now we’re in the Unai Emery era, an era where mediocrity is no longer tolerated. That’s why the Gunners have turned their attention to Bayern Leverkusen keeper, Bernd Leno. Reports suggest that an agreement has been reached between the two clubs, with the German set to be announced as an Arsenal player in the near future.
Here’s what Bernd Leno will bring to Arsenal.
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Since 2011, Leno has made 304 appearances for Leverkusen, establishing himself as the club’s undisputed no.1. It’s that cultured experience at a young age that has forced people to compare him to the greats of the game. Funnily enough, the German regularly stated that he modelled his game off the career of the Spanish legend, Iker Casillas, not Oliver Kahn like most young German keepers.
What does Bernd Leno excel at?
Confident Shot-stopper: There’s nothing you can appreciate more in a goalkeeper than a firm pair of hands. In Bernd Leno, Arsenal will have a keeper that has firm hands and an assured style of keeping, in contrast to his national counterpart, Loris Karius.
Comfortable on the ball: In Germany, all players have been encouraged to be comfortable on the ball, including keepers. Last season, the German averaged a 66.7% passing accuracy, that’s even more impressive when you consider the fact he attempted 7.5 long balls a game. Such familiarity on the ball would suit Arsenal’s style of play perfectly, as the Gunners rely on their keepers to contribute to build-up play. An attribute Petr Cech has regularly let them down on in the past two seasons.
Who makes way?
In a way, both Petr Cech and David Ospina will be making way for the incoming Bernd Leno. Petr Cech is 36 years of age and no longer capable of being a first-choice keeper. David Ospina has never truly staked a claim at the Emirates, playing second fiddle to Petr Cech. The Colombian is now set to make a move to Turkish side Beskitas, with Petr Cech assuming the no.2 position.
Since the start of the 2014/15 season, only Manuel Neuer (56) has kept more clean sheets in the Bundesliga than Bernd Leno (45), that’s pretty esteemed company for the 26-year-old. Last season, Bernd Leno averaged 1.47 saves a game, keeping nine clean sheets in 30 league appearances. In comparison, Cech & Ospina only kept 10 clean sheets between them. In conclusion, Bernd Leno would be an astute signing for the Gunners as he strengthens an incredibly weak point in the starting XI.