With concerns about their defence aired regularly among supporters, the recruitment team headed by Sven Mislintat, formerly with Borussia Dortmund, has identified 26-year-old Bernd Leno as the commanding goalkeeper the Gunners need.
Speculation was rife that Arsenal would seek to swoop for England number one Jack Butland, 24, following Stoke City’s relegation to the Championship.
However, the Potters are reportedly looking for a fee of more than £35m for Butland, deterring Arsenal from pursuing a move further. It’s left the path clear for Liverpool to make a move, with Klopp a confirmed admirer of Stoke’s goalkeeper.
It’s left Mislintat looking at his old stomping ground – the Bundesliga – for a solution. Bayer Leverkusen are open to a summer deal and the two clubs, according to the Express report, began talks recently to agree on a fee.
Leno has been capped at all junior and senior levels by Germany and is expected to be in Joachim Low’s squad for Russia 2018. With Manuel Neuer struggling to overcome injury, Leno may find himself in the starting line-up.
With David Ospina out of contract next summer, Arsenal are looking to phase out the Colombian and Cech gradually rather than shocking the club with too many changes in the summer.