Arsenal remain in talks with Fulham over selling Bernd Leno with Marco Silva interested in taking the goalkeeper from north to west London after he guided the Cottagers back into the Premier League.
Silva is eager to strengthen between the sticks at Craven Cottage as he bids to steer Fulham clear of another relegation. They have failed to prevent an instant return to the Championship after their last two promotions over the past five terms, but are heading to the top-flight as second-tier champions.
Fulham fended off Bournemouth for the title with by far and away the best offence with 106 goals in 46 games. They also registered the third-best defence with just 43 goals allowed, while Marek Rodak kept 14 clean sheets over 33 appearances and Paulo Gazzaniga took three shut outs over 13 outings.
Fulham remain interested in signing sought-after Leno from Arsenal this summer
Fulham have shown an interest in signing Leno from Arsenal since securing their promotion into the Premier League. The Athletic cited the German as Silva’s preferred option among a host of potential new shot-stoppers earlier in June, and noted that Leno is keen to stay in London if he leaves Arsenal.
Now, The Athletic report talks between Arsenal and Fulham over Leno’s transfer remain ongoing as Silva ramps up his spending. The Cottagers are closing on the signing of Shakhtar Donetsk ace Manor Solomon plus Sporting Lisbon’s Joao Palhinha, and have bid for Manchester United’s Andres Pereira.
Leno could leave the Emirates Stadium over the off-season after falling down Mikel Arteta’s pecking order last term. He started the campaign as the first-choice, but lost out to Aaron Ramsdale and only played one of his four Premier League games for the term after the September international break.
The 30-year-old is also in the final year of his contract at the Emirates, after penning a five-year deal worth £100k-a-week upon joining the club under Unai Emery. Arsenal paid Bayer Leverkusen £22m for the shot-stopper in 2018 as Petr Cech’s successor, and he took over the role from that October.
Ramsdale’s successful debut campaign could now see Leno leave Arsenal for Fulham, but Silva faces rival interest from PSV Eindhoven. Kicker report the Dutch giants have also expressed their interest in the nine-cap goalkeeper, who Correio da Manha linked with Benfica with a €10m (£8.5m) valuation.
Leno overlooking interest from PSV Eindhoven and Benfica, who will enter the Champions League in the third qualifying round this August, for Fulham would see him become the eighth Arsenal player to leave for Craven Cottage in the Premier League-era. So, how did the previous seven go on to fare?
Chambers the last Arsenal player to join Fulham for Leno to follow amid Silva’s interest
Calum Chambers is the most recent Arsenal player to join Fulham for Leno to potentially now follow amid Silva’s interest. The Gunners loaned the defender to the Cottagers for the 2018/19 season, but he could not help the west Londoners avoid relegation on the back of winning the 2017/18 play-offs.
Slavisa Jokanovic, Claudio Ranieri and Scott Parker fielded Chambers in 31 top-flight games between them that term. He also impressed from 21 outings as a holding midfielder, to see supporters name the three-cap England international as their Player of the Year with a staggering 48.4% of the votes.
Eisfeld offers Leno warning on Fulham switch amid Silva’s interest in Arsenal raid
Thomas Eisfeld offers Leno a warning that the grass is not always greener on the other side after the German struggled at Fulham after leaving Arsenal in 2014. The Cottagers signed the midfielder from the Gunners just two years after he moved to the Emirates from Borussia Dortmund in a £400k deal.
Arsene Wenger only afforded Eisfeld two first-team appearances in north London, totalling just 140 minutes, during EFL Cup ties. He would go on to play marginally more at Fulham, with 233 minutes over nine games. But the Cottagers cut their losses on Eisfeld in 2015 after loaning him to Bochum.
Frimpong only started two league games after Craven Cottage switch
Emmanuel Frimpong moved to Craven Cottage on loan in January 2013 but would struggle to forge a prominent role. The one-cap Ghana international only made six Premier League appearances whilst in west London, and only started two games before returning to Arsenal where he featured 16 times.
Leno could hope to repeat Senderos success after Arsenal exit amid Fulham interest
Leno could hope to repeat Philippe Senderos’ success after leaving Arsenal for Fulham amid interest from Silva this summer. The Swiss centre-half switched north for west London in 2010 and would go on to stay at Craven Cottage until he joined Valencia in January 2014, having made 68 appearances.
Volz secured permanent Fulham switch after initial loan from Arsenal in 2003/04
Moritz Volz secured a permanent transfer to Fulham in January 2004 after initially leaving Arsenal on loan in the previous August. The right-back had played just twice at Highbury and had already spent time on loan at Wimbledon after joining in his youth, far from his 144 games while at Craven Cottage.
Fulham hired Premier League winner with Arsenal in Hughes on short-term loan
Fulham loaned Stephen Hughes on a one-month deal from Arsenal during 1999 to plug a gap in their midfield. He would feature four times for the Cottagers in all competitions, and later left Highbury in March 2000 for Everton for £3m as a one-time Premier League winner in 1997/98 with the Gunners.
Fulham signed Selley as first Premier League-era transfer from Arsenal
Fulham signed Ian Selley in 1997 as their first Premier League-era transfer from Arsenal. The central midfielder had graduated from the Gunners’ academy five years earlier, but failed to cement a first-team presence. And he would struggle to impress at Craven Cottage, either, before leaving in 2000.
Leno, then, would certainly hope that any career he could have with Fulham follows Chambers and Senderos, should he leave Arsenal amid Silva’s interest, more so than Selley, Eisfeld and Frimpong.