The Gunners boss accepts the experienced performer will not be happy at losing his spot, but insists he remains thoroughly professional
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has rubbished reports suggesting Bernd Leno has reacted badly to losing his starting spot to £24 million ($33m) summer signing Aaron Ramsdale.
The Germany international goalkeeper started the 2021-22 campaign between the sticks for the Gunners, but conceded nine goals in their winless three-game opening.
Ramsdale was drafted in for the 1-0 victory over Norwich, with speculation surfacing since then regarding a supposed display of anger in training from Leno.
What has been said?
Arteta insists that is not the case, telling reporters ahead of the trip to Burnley on Saturday: “No, that’s not true. He responded, you can be frustrated, but you he was top with his team-mates in training with everything so that is not true.”
Pressed on whether he has had to give Leno any assurances over his future, Arteta added: “No, that’s what I said to them and I said to the goalkeepers in the last two or three years – that we don’t want to do that.
“What we want to do is empower performance and ask them to train behave and play the best possible way. How can I guarantee somebody something? It wouldn’t make sense with what we are demanding them to do.
“So it is on a daily basis, what you did three months ago in football, it doesn’t count. So is what you’re going to do today and tomorrow, and that’s it.”
Why did Arsenal make a change?
Leno’s contract at Emirates Stadium is only due to run until 2023 and there have been rumours of him running that deal down before moving on. Arsenal have moved to ensure that they have a long-term successor in place, with considerable faith and funds being invested in England hopeful Ramsdale.
He is just 23 years of age, but Arteta says he has been given a chance after proving himself deserving.
The Spaniard said when asked why he made a change in his No 1 spot: “That we have to change something and Aaron has come here to try to make us better. We needed a result on that day and I decided to play him. That’s all.”
Will Leno come back in?
Ramsdale kept a clean sheet on his Premier League bow for the Gunners and will expect to keep his place at Turf Moor, but there are already murmurings of the more experienced Leno stepping back in for the north London derby with Tottenham on September 26.
Arteta has also refuted that gossip, saying: “I don’t know where they are coming from but they are ahead of me! I think I am the one who picks the team at the weekend and sometimes I read things that I haven’t decided yet.
“They give me ideas at the most, but nothing else because I haven’t made a decision for Saturday – so imagine [if I had] for the north London derby.”