Arsenal target Bernd Leno has reportedly emerged as a surprise summer target for reigning Spanish and European champions Real Madrid.
As per a report in Spanish publication Don Balon, reigning Spanish and European champions Real Madrid are considering a summer swoop for Bernd Leno, but only if they fail to nab Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois or Manchester United shot stopper David De Gea. Arsenal are also interested in the German international.
The report states that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is looking for a goalkeeper with a ‘different profile’, and that Courtois and De Gea remain his top priorities. But, should a move fail to materialise for either of them, they will turn their attention to the 26-year-old Bernd Leno.
Keylor Navas, despite his great performances and key contributions to two consecutive UEFA Champions League triumphs, has never been considered to be ‘world class’ and isn’t regarded as highly as David De Gea or Thibaut Courtois.
Navas turns 32 this year and is six years older than Leno. Acquiring the German goalkeeper would help solve Real Madrid’s goalkeeping problems for a while. Navas has two years left on his current contract and Real will certainly be able to recover the €10 million they paid for him four years ago.
They could even make a profit on his sale this summer and use the same to fund a move for Leno, who isn’t expected to cost too much, given that he also has a contract that expires in 2020. However, this newfound interest in Leno will likely come as a blow to Premier League side Arsenal.
The Gunners are reportedly looking to replace the 35-year-old Petr Cech this summer and Leno is the club’s first choice to replace the former Chelsea shot stopper. However, Real Madrid joining the race for the goalkeeper will likely make things a lot more difficult for Arsenal.
Real Madrid, with their massive financial resources will be able to match and increase any offer that Arsenal put on the table for Leno and perhaps more importantly, Champions League football.
At this point in the season, Real Madrid are more likely to be able to offer UEFA Champions League football next season than the Gunners and that almost certainly gives Los Blancos the edge. It now remains to be seen if the Spanish heavyweights indeed win the race to sign Leno, or if Arsenal strike a deal instead.