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Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno has hit out at the treatment he received whilst being with the Gunners before switching to Fulham, this summer.
The 30-year-old was one of the bigger names to leave after lobbying for a switch that would guarantee him first-team football ahead of the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
With Fulham able to get their man for a £3.5 million fee, Leno has now taken the chance to open up about his troubled time at the Emirates Stadium.
The goalkeeper claims he was treated unfairly under Mikel Arteta’s reign, forcing him away from the club.
In an exclusive interview with BILD Sport, the ex-Bayer Leverkusen shot-stopper stated:
“When I realised it wasn’t about performance, or quality, I had to go.
“During the preparation, I saw that it’s not about performance - it’s just politics.
"It was clear to me, I had to get out of here.
“The most important thing for me now is to find my rhythm again.
"Especially after I wasn’t actually able to train properly at Arsenal and had no preparation.”
Despite being made to train alone, Leno did add that his situation was different to that of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s, however, who was left completely secluded from the rest of the squad.
“I was allowed to go to my team-mates in the dressing room,” Leno said.
“It was different with Aubameyang, who was only allowed into the dressing room when no one was there.”
Leno’s future at Arsenal became clearer after the club agreed to sign United States international Matt Turner from New England Revolution earlier this year.
The Germany international had already fallen out of favour at the beginning of last season following the arrival of Aaron Ramsdale from Sheffield United, who cemented himself as Arteta’s number one shortly after joining.
Ramsdale’s capture left Leno with just eight appearances to add to his name in the 2021/22 season, pushing him closer and closer to the exit throughout the summer months.
Leno, who joined Arsenal back in 2018 from Leverkusen, attempted to force through a free transfer to facilitate a move to Craven Cottage.
The Gunners were eventually forced to lower their £10 million valuation and sanction the sale of the keeper at a cut-price figure.