Bernd Leno, the German goalkeeper who departed Arsenal, made controversial comments regarding his exit from the club. Rather than on-pitch performance, the former Gunner claimed ‘politics’ attributed to his Emirates Stadium exodus.

“When I realized that it wasn’t about performance or quality, I knew I had to go,” explained Leno during an interview with German newspaper Sport Bild.  “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.”

In terms of politics, Ramsdale is the English goalkeeper who arrived for a considerable fee from Sheffield United. Comparatively, Leno is German, and thus not valued as highly in the English Premier League, regardless of performance. That is, at least, the argument of Leno.

Bernd Leno’s Arsenal exit

Leno spent the 2021/22 season at Arsenal as backup to Aaron Ramsdale. In the summer of 2021, Arsenal acquired the Sheffield United shot-stopper in a deal worth around $30 million. Following a struggle to start the season, Ramsdale unseated Leno for the No. 1 role between the sticks in Mikel Arteta’s side. The reasoning, at least on the outside looking in, was the way the two keepers played out from the back.

With Ramsdale locking up that spot, Arsenal sold Leno to Fulham for a reported fee of about $4 million in early August. With Bernd Leno exiting Arsenal, USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner arrived to serve as Ramsdale’s primary backup for the current campaign.

“The most important thing for me is to find my rhythm again,” Leno also stated.  “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.”

The German is not the only Gunners keeper to make headlines about his former team. Emi Martinez, now with Aston Villa, made multiple comments regarding his departure from Arsenal. The Argentina international previously stated that Villa “was a step up” from Arsenal and that he left north London mostly because he was not trusted at the position.

Current season

In four Premier League starts with the Cottagers this season, Leno allowed seven goals. Fulham’s start to the season featured games against Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Brighton. Despite the gauntlet, the club is at a respectable two wins, two draws and two losses in the middle of the EPL table. Arsenal are also off to a strong start to the campaign, with five wins and just one loss.

Fulham host fellow London club Chelsea on Saturday, while Arsenal have a midweek tilt with Zurich before taking on Everton.