It’s all kicking off in the transfer market as Arsenal are pushing to reshape their squad for the coming season, starting from the goal and working their way up the pitch it would appear. Strong links to Andre Onana have emerged and if followed through, would constitute some clever early business.
For someone who was never overly outspoken away from the pitch, the news of Bernd Leno wanting to leave Arsenal in the summer was somewhat surprising. His comments could have been taken with a pinch of salt as it’s fairly run-of-the-mill ‘player discusses future’ chat, but to have multiple sources since state he wants to leave changed the outlook of the summer.
Goalkeeper went from being unimportant to relatively vital. If the German doesn’t want to be at the club then move him on. Dead simple decision with two years left on his deal. Leno is a solid if unspectacular player, and an upgrade can be found.
Arsenal’s determination to land David Raya has fizzled out following Brentford’s promotion to the Premier League, and that Bees victory appears to have kicked the Gunners’ pursuit of Andre Onana into gear. However, Onana’s signing can’t be the only one with Mat Ryan’s loan ending, and who comes in as No. 2 will be interesting.
Arsenal’s Andre Onana, Mat Ryan & Bernd Leno goalkeeper plans constitute good business in summer transfer window
Having desired a young, homegrown player to develop into a long-term option, there is now some uncertainty over whether Ryan will be kept on instead. He’s impressed everyone at the club with his attitude and performances and settled into the group well, while is also available on the cheap.
Working on the basis that Leno is sold, Onana comes in for a maximum fee of £8m – he was valued at £50m but two years ago and even the top end valuation is a huge bargain – Ryan is kept on and the homegrown quota is supplemented elsewhere, then Arsenal will have started the window in encouraging fashion.
A buyer will still need to be found for Leno and there is also an anxious wait over Onana’s appeal to CAS against his 12-month ban, one that if fully successful will allow him to begin training with his new side in June and return to action two months later. There are other eventualities.
Who will buy Leno? More importantly, who will pay what Arsenal want? The German will not accept a No. 2 slot and the pursuit of the Cameroonian becomes his ticket to leave. There must be some interest behind the scenes.
There are still plenty of variables that need to fall into place for this whole keeper merry-go-round to be settled, but the prospect of the eventual outcome – a very talented, younger ball-playing goalkeeper who is an upgrade for a cut-price fee, some cash injection from Leno’s sale and a solid backup in Ryan – could be a decent start to the window. That CAS appeal does become huge, however.
Still loads to be done and even the above is far from rubber-stamped, but if completed it’s quietly good business.