Reigning Serie A champions Inter Milan are exploring the possibility of signing Bernd Leno from Arsenal next year, according to reports.
The goalkeeper’s current contract at the Emirates expires in June 2022. That means he can speak with interested European clubs from January onwards under the Bosman ruling.
Recent reports have suggested that Leno is unwilling to sign an extension, and the Nerazzurri are ready to swoop in.
They are looking to find Samir Handanovic’s long-term replacement, as the Slovenia star is now 37 years old.
Leno is one option, while Ajax and Cameroon shot-stopper Andre Onana is also being eyed.
Inter’s finances have been hit badly by the pandemic, forcing them to prioritise cheap ways of strengthening the squad.
It looks like they will focus on players whose contracts are expiring over the next few transfer windows, or at least until their situation improves.
Arsenal could be open to letting 29-year-old Leno leave north London. The Gunners brought in Aaron Ramsdale from Sheffield United this summer, in deal which could rise to £30million.
He has penned a four-year contract at the club and looks set to replace Leno, whenever the German decides to move on.
Arsenal’s backline has received plenty of criticism in recent seasons, and Leno is a part of that. Last term, he made a huge error to hand Everton all three points in a Premier League clash.
The keeper also struggled in the opening day defeat to Brentford. He was beaten at his near post by a Sergi Canos drive in the 22nd minute.
For the Bees’ second goal, Leno and his fellow defenders were bullied by their opponents. The ball was allowed to bounce in the box and Christian Norgaard headed home into an open net.
After the game, former Arsenal player Nigel Winterburn slammed the performance of Mikel Arteta’s side.
“Defensively, Arsenal need more individual resilience, and must come together as a back four,” he told Paddy Power.
“After the game, Jamie Carragher called the Arsenal defence, weak, because of the manner of which they conceded both of their goals. People questioned Bernd Leno for the first goal, but Callum Chambers needed to get tighter.
“The second was woeful, yes, Leno was fouled, but why was he trying to get involved with the players around him? As a goalkeeper you want to create space for yourself, you cannot get pinned in. The ball was bouncing around in the box, it was quite literally everything you are told not to do.”