Unai Emery is still understood to be keen on bringing Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno to the Emirates Stadium this summer, despite reports that the stopper is close to a deal with Napoli.
Having just taken charge of club, Emery’s plans for a new-look Arsenal side are starting to take shape with the Gunners being linked with a number of names in recent weeks.
34-year-old Switzerland international Stephan Lichtsteiner became the first signing of the new era, while Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Paris Saint-Germain’s Yacine Adli are widely expected to follow suit.
A priority area for Emery and the Arsenal hierarchy however is a new goalkeeper and ccording to journalism Kike Marin, Leno remains the number one target.
The 26-year-old has spent the last seven seasons with Leverkusen, but club officials are now expecting the keeper to move on this summer with his £22m release clause set to be met.
Leverkusen have already began planning for life without Leno having signed Eintracht Frankfurt keeper Lukáš Hrádecký to ensure a suitable backup option is available should the German leave this summer.
Speaking on the matter, Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller told the press (via Football.London) that Leno would only be allowed to leave on the club’s terms, and opened up about a potential move to Napoli last summer failing to materialising. He said: “Leno can leave but only on our terms.
“We are still in constant and open exchange with Bernd and his manager. Leno already had a concrete offer from Napoli in 2017, but we didn’t have an equivalent backup at the time.
“He had to stay and he did really well last season, but we thought Bernd’s desire to leave would resurface so and so with the arrival of Lukáš Hrádecký we have a high quality successor.”
The futures of current keepers Petr Cech and David Ospina are still unknown with Emery set to bring in a haul of new players ahead of his debut Premier League season, meaning there will likely be a number of outgoings from north London before the first game of the season.