Bernd Leno blasts Arsenal and names club ‘politics’ as main reason he ‘had to get out of there’

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Bernd Leno, Nottingham Forest v Arsenal January 2022 Credit: PA Images
Bernd Leno, Nottingham Forest v Arsenal January 2022 Credit: PA Images

Bernd Leno has criticised the ‘politics’ going on at Arsenal and named this as one of the main reasons why he left in August.

Leno spent four years at the Emirates, making 125 appearances for Arsenal and keeping 37 clean sheets. He helped the Gunners to win the 2020 FA Cup, plus the Community Shield the following season.

The goalkeeper had largely been Arsenal’s number one until the arrival of Aaron Ramsdale in August 2021. Arsenal spent a reported £30million on the Englishman and Mikel Arteta soon put him in the starting eleven.

Ramsdale immediately showed his class and kept Leno on the bench for large parts of last season. This meant the German only played eight times in all competitions, with just four of these outings coming in the Premier League.

Following their promotion back to the top flight, Fulham began looking for a new shot-stopper. And they soon put Leno at the top of their wish list.

And his move to Craven Cottage went through on August 2, with Fulham paying £8m to complete the deal.

When joining Marco Silva’s side, Leno said: “It feels amazing to finally be here. I can’t wait to join the team, to train and play with the team.

“I’m relieved that everything is done. I’m just happy to be here. It took a little bit of time but in the end we made it, and that’s the most important thing.”

Leno’s main aim when completing the transfer was to get back to playing regularly, as well as getting back to his best form.

He was kept on the bench for Fulham’s first two league matches of the current campaign. But Leno got his Cottagers debut in the 3-2 victory over Brentford.

And he has remained in the starting eleven ever since, for league games at least. The 30-year-old has played against former club Arsenal, as well as their north London rivals Tottenham. He is still waiting for his first Fulham clean sheet, though.

Bernd Leno slams former club

During an interview with German outlet Bild (via talkSPORT), Leno has now criticised his former club. He thinks club ‘politics’ are to blame for him not playing as much as he should have done.

“When I realised that it wasn’t about performance or quality, I knew that I had to go,” Leno said.

“In preparation, I saw that it is not about performance, but only about politics. It was clear to me: I had to get out of here.”

He continued: “The most important thing for me is to find my rhythm again.

“Especially after I wasn’t actually able to train properly at Arsenal and had no preparation. It’s up to me to get the focus back on the national team.”

Leno has the right to feel aggrieved about losing his spot at Arsenal and spending some of his prime years on the bench. But he is being harsh to Arsenal when saying it was all about ‘politics’.

The former Bayer Leverkusen man made some bad mistakes while representing Mikel Arteta’s side and this forced them to look for an alternative keeper.

Ramsdale signing understandable for Arsenal

In the end, the club decided on Ramsdale and he has proven to be a huge success. This must be hard for Bernd Leno to deal with, but he simply isn’t as good as his English counterpart.

Plus, Ramsdale is six years his junior and has a much higher ceiling. He could end up being Gareth Southgate’s number one for England at the Qatar World Cup.

Meanwhile, the reason why Arsenal were unable to sign Wolves winger Pedro Neto this summer has its roots in the free-spending of a Premier League rival, per a report.

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