Bernd Leno: I Hope To Play In The Champions League Again With Arsenal

Bernd Leno has endured a turbulent year by his standards. The German was clearly made the number one by Mikel Arteta going into the season which resulted in the sale of Emiliano Martínez to Aston Villa for £20m. The pressure was non-existent on the goalkeeper with new signing Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson offering little to no threat to his first choice status. It took until January when Arsenal signed Mathew Ryan on-loan from Brighton for his performances to go up a level. Since then the 29-year-old has picked up his form which now puts him at the centre of the third best defence in the Premier League with two games remaining.  

Recently there have been reports that Leno would look to leave the Emirates this summer to try something new but since doing an interview with SPORT 1 he has rubbished those claims and says he is happy at Arsenal. He said:

“I don’t want to flee here, I feel good and want to be successful again with Arsenal! Arsenal are a big club, which is extremely underestimated in Germany, there are many Arsenal fans all over the world. I still have a two-year contract and hope to play in the Champions League again with Arsenal. It is also clear that at some point in my career I want to do something different. So far I’ve played for two clubs. Maybe I’ll get the urge to play in another league again. Maybe in the south. But there is time, I’m still getting to the top goalkeeping age. But my focus is on Arsenal FC.”

The shot stopper went onto dissect where it went wrong for the North London side this season and what their future goals are. He said:“We’re chasing the past when stars like Thierry Henry played. That was a different level. We’re a long way from the Champions League at the moment. We will most likely not be in the Europa League next season either, so the club are trying to build something new. We can fully concentrate on the league next season and dare to make this new beginning.

“The Premier League is tough. The smaller clubs really hurt you, which is why we can’t allow ourselves periods of weakness like last autumn. Otherwise you run after the music. We didn’t get the curve after that. But we last won against Chelsea, we beat Tottenham and Manchester United. Quality is there, but we couldn’t always call it up.”

Leno then was asked about the Premier League and what makes it attractive as a foreigner to go to. He said: “The Premier League is the coolest league. I’ve always followed this league. This back and forth, the physical, the playing with an open visor – that just makes you want to go. There’s more going on here than in the Bundesliga. There is too much midfield skirmishing and probing there. I’m also happy when the fans are back. They set the pace in England and push the teams.”

Should Arsenal decide they do want to try something different and opt to go another route Mathew Ryan is already expected to sign a permanent deal this summer and Ajax’s André Onana who would be a shrewd signing at a cut price could be a possible replacement in the near future.

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