'Really surprised about it' – Arsenal boss Arteta hits out at ex-keeper Leno after German says 'politics' forced him out | The Sun
MIKEL ARTETA has hit back at Bernd Leno after the ex-Arsenal goalkeeper claimed he left due to "politics" at the Emirates.
The German shot-stopper departed the Gunners after four years earlier in the summer where he joined Fulham in a deal rising to £8million.
After three seasons as the club's No1, Leno lost his place in the team last campaign to England international Aaron Ramsdale.
Leno shipped in nine goals from the opening three Premier League games, with the 30-year-old featuring just once after in the top-flight.
American ace Matt Turner was then brought in from New England Revolution to be Ramsdale's back-up, leaving Leno as surplus to requirements.
And Leno has launched a stinging attack on Arteta and Arsenal where he declared that he left North London due to “politics not performances".
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He told Sport Bild: "When I realised that it wasn’t about performance or quality, I knew that I had to go.
"In preparation, I saw that it is not about performance, but only about politics. It was clear to me: I had to get out of here.
“The most important thing for me is to find my rhythm again.
“Especially after I wasn’t actually able to train properly at Arsenal and had no preparation. It’s up to me to get the focus back on the national team.”
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Arteta was asked about Leno's comments in his pre-match press conference ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash against FC Zurich.
To which a bemused and irritated Arteta pointed out the numerous opportunities he hag given Leno since he took charge in December 2019.
He said: "I’m really surprised and I don't know if he’s talking about the politics when he was starting every match or the politics when he wasn’t playing.
"Really surprised about it."
Leno played against Arsenal at the Emirates last month, where it was his late error that gifted Gabriel an open goal tap in the 86th minute.
Arteta had praised Leno in August after his departure was confirmed where he declared it was a "privilege" to work with him.
The Spaniard remarked: "It’s a man who will be remembered here and it’s been a privilege to work with him.
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"But in football you have to make decisions and try to get the best out of your players to play the way you want to play.
"And Bernd has found a move that he and his family are really happy with, and we wish him all the best.”
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