Bernd Leno has made the astonishing claim that his Arsenal exit during the summer transfer window was motivated by in-house politics and had nothing to do with his levels of performance.
The nine-capped Germany international traded regions of London in August as he joined Fulham from the Gunners in a deal worth up to £8m. He has featured in the subsequent four Premier League games for the newly-promoted club, including the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates.
Leno, 30, was a regular fixture in the Arsenal XI after joining from Bayer Leverkusen in 2018 by then manager Unai Emery, but he found himself playing second fiddle to Aaron Ramsdale last season under Mikel Arteta, and following the arrival of American international Matt Turner, he sought an exit.
Leno has now spoken out about his departure from the Gunners, explaining that the incentive behind his transfer to Fulham was not one based on anything he done on the pitch or the training field — but rather that the decision to sell him was one heavily fuelled by club politics.
Speaking to Sport BILD, Leno said: “When I realised that it wasn’t about performance or quality, I knew I had to go.
“During the preparation, I saw that it’s not about performance, it’s just about politics. It was clear to me: I have to get out of here.”
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Explaining his own decision to seek an escape hatch, Leno has cited the winter World Cup as a huge motivator for wanting to join Fulham and get regular game time. The nine-capped Germany international hasn’t featured in an international squad since November 2021.
“The most important thing for me is to find my rhythm again,” Leno said. “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.”