Bernd Leno 'set to leave Arsenal on a free transfer' after Aaron Ramsdale signing
Bernd Leno is reportedly set to leave Arsenal on a free transfer at the end of this season following the signing of Aaron Ramsdale.
The German goalkeeper remains No.1 choice under boss Mikel Arteta despite the club's hefty outlay to bring in Ramsdale as cover.
A few eyebrows were raised when Arsenalcommitted to a total deal worth £30million for the promising England international, particularly as other areas of their squad could do with investment.
And since the transfer has been completed, it's clear Arteta feels Ramsdale is one for the future, rather than to stake a serious claim this season.
However, Arsenal's swoop may have been for good reason, given Leno's contract with the club is due to expire next summer.
And according to Italian publication Tuttosport, he has no intentions of signing an extension.
Leno insisted earlier this summer that he was not necessarily intent on leaving Arsenal, but conceded a new challenge may beckon in the not too distant future.
"It is also clear that at some point in my career I want to do something different," he told Sport1 in May. "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."
Inter Milan are now said to have placed Leno at the top of their shortlist of potential replacements for current stopper Samir Handanovic, who has just turned 37.
Ironically, Inter are also monitoring Ajax No.1 Andre Onana, who Arsenal were heavily linked with this summer before moving for Ramsdale.
It was the fact Ramsdale counts as a homegrown player on Arsenal's required eight-player quota which swung the vote in his favour.
That said, Ramsdale's arrival was one purely driven by Arteta under the advice from his coaching staff, including those who work with the goalkeepers.
As reports The Athletic , Arsenal's technical director Edu urged Arteta to consider alternatives when the price for Ramsdale was beginning to spiral.
Among the names put forward was Barcelona's Neto, who was a low cost option to provide adequate, experienced cover.
But at 32, Arteta felt Arsenal needed a more long-term option, perhaps in the knowledge that he could lose Leno at the end of the season.
Ramsdale now has around nine months to work with and learn from his colleague, who has a wealth of elite-level experience that will no doubt stand his understudy in good stead.
That's if they even get nine months working together, as the report from Italy suggests a deal could even be struck in January, when Leno would be free to negotiate with other clubs.
Should that happen, Arteta may feel it wise to bring forward Ramsdale's promotion to No.1 before the season is out.
Certainly Ramsdale has not come to sit on the bench forever, as he stated after signing for the club.
"It's a fantastic place to be, Bernd has done a fantastic job over recent seasons and it's my job to push him all the way and take his shirt."