Bernd Leno insists there is no 'bad energy' with Arsenal

‘I still have a connection to the club’: Bernd Leno insists there is no ‘bad energy’ with Arsenal despite Aaron Ramsdale taking his No 1 spot before summer move to Fulham… and insists his former side CAN beat Man City to the title

  • Bernd Leno spent four years with Arsenal and won the FA Cup with them in 2020 
  • The German goalkeeper has kept seven clean sheets for seventh-placed Fulham 
  • Re-live the action as Fulham fall to a 3-2 defeat to west London rivals Brentford 

Bernd Leno insisted that he bore no ill will to former club Arsenal after his summer departure for London rivals Fulham, after his position between the sticks was usurped by Aaron Ramsdale. 

The German goalkeeper admitted that there was no ‘bad energy’ with the Gunners, having left the Emirates after four years in 2022 to join the Cottagers. 

Leno played 125 games for Arsenal following his 2018 arrival, but found game time hard to come by with the emergence of Ramsdale after a £30million switch from Sheffield United. 

But the 31-year-old has since gone on to thrive for Fulham, keeping seven clean sheets in the Premier League in their unlikely rise to the European places in 2022-23 under Marco Silva. 

And although he did not have the ‘perfect’ departure from the Emirates, Leno admitted that he still has a connection with the club – even if he feels that he ‘did nothing wrong’ before being dropped for Ramsdale. 

Bernd Leno has undergone a resurgence between the sticks for Fulham after his summer move

The German international spent four years with London rivals Arsenal between 2018 and 2022

‘I don’t have toxic [feelings] or bad energy for Arsenal,’ he told the Evening Standard. 

‘It didn’t end in the perfect way, but my reception at the Emirates was really good. I get fans coming up to me saying, “thank you for your four years… you were very good.”

‘I was really happy with my performances. Even when they dropped me, I did nothing wrong. I came through the front door and I left through the front door. I still have a connection to the club.’

Leno came into an Arsenal side in desperate need of a goalkeeper with Petr Cech reaching the end of his long and fabled career, and was initially a hit with the Gunners fanbase. 

And his stock continued to rise with consistently improved performances at the Emirates, keeping seven, eight and 11 clean sheets in his first three seasons respectively. 

In the 2021-22 season he made only eight appearances in all competitions, but he showed the extent of his connection with his former club in backing them to win out in the title race up against Manchester City, adding: ‘I hope they do it, I think they can.’

Leno made 125 appearances for the Gunners and was part of the side that won the 2020 FA Cup

The emergence of Aaron Ramsdale at the Emirates caused a reduction in Leno’s game time 

Leno was one of a number of signings for Fulham ahead of the 2022-23 season, with the west London side keen to avoid a repeat of their previous three stints in the top-flight, in which they finished 18th, 19th and 19th. 

Along with Joao Palhinha, Andreas Pereira, Willian and Manor Solomon, Leno has been key in Fulham’s improvement, and the German admitted that the absence of pressure has been vital to their resurgence. 

‘We were all good additions, but we are not the spine of the team — the energy was already there before. 

‘My form is the same as the team’s: pretty good. Most of the games at the beginning, you have the feeling you are the underdog. At Arsenal it was a little different, because you always had to win and there was a lot of pressure.

‘This season, we gave everything back to the fans. The expectations were different but now the fans dream, it’s growing. I feel at home here.’

With a 3-2 defeat to Brentford coming on Monday in a west London derby, Fulham now sit six points from the Champions League – and 17 points from the bottom three – with an FA Cup quarter-final clash with Manchester United later in March. 

The 31-year-old has kept seven clean sheets in 24 Premier League appearances in 2022-23

Leno has not featured for the German national team since 2021 and is targeting a return

And with the club still capable of improving on their fortunes in what has already been a hugely successful campaign, Leno is now targeting a return to the international set up with his country. 

The 31-year-old has won nine caps for Germany, but has been out of contention since 2021, after his minutes dried up at Arsenal. 

‘I didn’t go to the World Cup because I didn’t play at Arsenal and then the World Cup was in November,’ he said. 

‘I can accept that. But, hopefully, in March, in the summer, or maybe next season, I can go back. That is a target for me.’

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