EPL

Arsenal let Germany international Leno join London rivals Fulham

By Sports Desk August 02, 2022

Bernd Leno swapped London clubs as the Germany goalkeeper left Arsenal to join Fulham on Tuesday in a move that could rekindle his World Cup prospects.

The 30-year-old sealed a move in a reported £8million deal, having lost his Gunners first-team place to Aaron Ramsdale last season.

He joins Fulham, who return to the Premier League in the new campaign, becoming the latest addition to Marco Silva's squad ahead of a season that gets under way at the weekend.

Fulham host last season's runners-up Liverpool on Saturday at Craven Cottage.

Leno, who did not feature in Germany's squad for Nations League games at the end of last season, has won nine caps for his country, but the hold of Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer on the national team number one jersey has meant opportunities have always been limited.

The new recruit has signed a three-year contract with Fulham and told the club's FFCtv channel: "It feels amazing to finally be here. I can't wait to join the team, to train and play with the team.

"I'm relieved that everything is done. I'm just happy to be here. It took a little bit of time but in the end we made it, and that's the most important thing."

Former Bayer Leverkusen shot-stopper Leno said he had enjoyed "four amazing years" with Arsenal.

He played 49 first-team games in the 2020-21 season and featured 125 times overall during his Emirates Stadium career, but a mere eight appearances last term indicated his time was up at Arsenal.

His most recent Germany appearance came in the 2-0 win over Liechtenstein last September, Hansi Flick's first game as national team boss.

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    Spain dominate Opta's Euro 2024 Team of the Tournament after Sunday's 2-1 final victory over England, a result that clinched a record-breaking fourth European crown.

    Five Roja players find themselves in Opta's stats-based XI, but they also contribute the most surprising omission, with Player of the Tournament Rodri missing out.

    England only have one representative despite reaching their first tournament final on foreign soil, with Harry Kane's share of the Golden Boot and Jude Bellingham's stunning overhead kick versus Slovakia not enough to warrant a place.

    Here, we run through those that did make the cut, highlighting a couple of standout stats for each player.

    Giorgi Mamardashvili (Georgia)

    Georgia shot-stopper Mamardashvili conceded more goals than any other player at the tournament (eight), but four of those came in a last-16 defeat to the eventual champions, and he finds his way in between the sticks.

    Starring as Georgia surprisingly escaped Group F, Mamardashvili made 30 saves and prevented 4.76 goals according to Opta's expected goals on target (xGoT) model – the best figure at the tournament.

    Joshua Kimmich (Germany)

    Germany were dumped out in the last eight by Spain, and winning their group via a last-gasp Niclas Fullkrug goal versus Switzerland may actually have harmed the hosts as they wound up on the more challenging side of the draw.

    Kimmich was fielded at right-back by Julian Nagelsmann and was instrumental going forward. In fact, only Lamine Yamal (17) bettered his 16 chances created from open play in just five games.

    Manuel Akanji (Switzerland)

    Akanji's tournament ended in despair as he was denied by Jordan Pickford in Switzerland's quarter-final penalty shoot-out defeat to England, but he was crucial for one of the competition's best defences.

    Switzerland faced just 2.4 shots on target per game at Euro 2024, fewer than any other side, and conceded less than one expected goal per game (0.95). 

     

    Marc Guehi (England)

    England's lone representative is a man who most would have deemed unlikely to start before the tournament began, Crystal Palace centre-back Guehi.

    In for the injured Harry Maguire, Guehi contested (29) and won (13) more aerial duels throughout the tournament than any other England player and completed 93.5% of his passes.

    Marc Cucurella (Spain)

    When Luis de la Fuente named Cucurella in Spain's starting lineup for their opening game versus Croatia, there were plenty left open-mouthed by the exclusion of Bayer Leverkusen star Alex Grimaldo. 

    However, just three defenders were involved in more open-play attacking sequences than Cucurella's 31, and it was his low cross that led to the tournament's decisive moment; Mikal Oyarzabal's 86th-minute final winner versus England.

    Toni Kroos (Germany)

    Kroos may not have enjoyed a dream send-off ahead of his retirement, but a series of metronomic midfield displays left many fans wishing he would extend his career.

    He made the most line-breaking passes (141) of any player at the tournament, also completing 94.3% of his passes under pressure, the best rate of any player (minimum 100 passes attempted).

     

    Fabian Ruiz (Spain)

    Fabian contributed two goals and two assists throughout the tournament, his driving runs from midfield making him the perfect foil for enforcer Rodri and silky playmaker Dani Olmo.

    No player won possession more often than the Paris Saint-Germain man (46 times), while he also recovered the ball seven times in the final third, setting the tone for De la Fuente's high press.

    Lamine Yamal (Spain)

    The Young Player of the Tournament, Yamal recorded four assists to go with his semi-final stunner against France, with no player on record (since 1980) ever teeing up more goals at a single edition of the European Championships.

    One day after his 17th birthday, he surpassed Pele (17 years, 239 days) as the youngest player to play in a Euros or World Cup final, and he made his mark despite some solid work from England left-back Luke Shaw, teeing up Nico Williams' 47th-minute opener.

     

    Dani Olmo (Spain)

    Olmo is entitled to feel a little miffed at UEFA's decision to share the Golden Boot between all six players that managed three goals. Under the old tie-breaking method, his two assists would have earned him the prize outright.

    His most telling contribution, like that of Yamal, came in the last four, a sumptuous first touch setting him up to finish across Mike Maignan for Spain's winner. 

    Five goal involvements is the joint-most by a Spain player at a European Championship, along with David Silva in 2012, and all the more remarkable is the fact he only started three games.

    Nico Williams (Spain)

    The final Spanish representative, Williams opened the scoring in the final to become the second-youngest player to net in a Euros showpiece match (22 years, two days, behind Italy's Pietro Anastasi in 1968 at 20 years, 64 days).

    Williams posted a higher expected assists (xA) total than any other player (2.06), and was La Roja's standout attacker when it mattered most against England.

    Cody Gakpo (Netherlands)

    The Netherlands may have suffered 90th-minute heartbreak against England in the semi-finals, but it was largely thanks to Gakpo that they made it that far.

    Only Olmo and Yamal (five each) bettered his four goal involvements (three goals, one assist) as he earned a share of the Golden Boot. Only Yamal (15) and Kylian Mbappe (11), meanwhile, bettered his 10 chances created following a ball carry. 

     

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    United have a buy-back option for the next three years and a sizeable share of any sell-on fee.

    Kambwala had 11 months left on his contract at Old Trafford but refused terms to sign a new one for the Red Devils. 

    The 19-year-old made 10 Premier League appearances for the Erik ten Hag last season, with his debut coming in a 2-0 defeat to West Ham in December. 

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  • Thomas Muller announces Germany retirement Thomas Muller announces Germany retirement

    Thomas Muller has retired from international football following the end of Euro 2024, having represented Germany 131 times in 14 years.

    Muller played a minor role at Germany's home tournament, coming off the bench for a total of 58 minutes in their group-stage win over Scotland and their quarter-final defeat to Spain.

    The Bayern Munich legend, who turns 35 in September, scored 45 times for his country, winning the Golden Boot at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

    Four years later, Muller netted five times as Germany won the 2014 World Cup, including a group-stage hat-trick versus Portugal and a goal in Die Nationalelf's memorable 7-1 semi-final rout of hosts Brazil.

    One day after Spain's final victory over England brought the curtain down on Euro 2024, Muller took to social media to announce the end of his international career.

    Alongside a video displaying his best moments in a Germany shirt, Muller wrote: "Hello, thank you very much for your fantastic support during my time with Germany."

    The German Football Association (DFB) also posted a montage of Muller's best moments on X, alongside the caption: "Unique on and off the pitch! We will miss you… Thank you for everything!"

    Muller is the second Germany great to exit the international arena in the wake of Euro 2024, with Toni Kroos retiring from all forms of football at the tournament's conclusion.

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