Replacing a quality player is difficult.
Replacing a dependable player is even more so.
We should know too. Remember when David Seaman left to join Man City? We had a string of goalkeepers who intended to take the gloves and do what Safe Hands did, season after season.
None of them succeeded until the experienced German, Jens Lehmann, was signed. He provided the reliability that our backline fed from and he was a key component in our Invincibles campaign.
Fast forward to the present day and it can be said that until recently, we were still fighting to find a suitable person to fill the gloves of ‘Mad Jens.’
Jens was brilliant, and Almunia, Fabianski and Szczesny all had failings while with us. Now though, it appears we finally have the goalkeeper who gives us the magic ingredient that offers a massive boost to the players in front off him.
Bernd Leno had a decent pedigree while playing in the Bundesliga, and has been capped by Germany. He came to Arsenal amidst some fanfare, but he has fully justified the price tag and we can concentrate on strengthening other areas of the pitch as Leno has the gloves tied down.
His saves against Tottenham and Man United last season were replayed again and again on social media, such were the skills on show. His reflexes are sharp, his leap salmon-esque. The man has fitted seamlessly into our team.
It is fair to say that he has made an error or two, but there are no players who don’t make an error. Because when goalkeepers make mistakes they lead to goals, it means their faux pas’ are scrutinised more closely than on-field players. Leno has not shown weakness in any particular area, and he has not blotted his work with mindless runs out of his box to stem an opposition attack.
Instead, he has claimed crosses confidently, he has stopped some ferocious shots and generally been flawless on long range efforts.
In short, he is the goalie we’ve been looking for for some time.
Leno has a fight on his hands with the vastly improved Emi Martinez waiting in the wings, but as long as he continues as he has been, then Leno could forge his own name into our memory banks when we are asked to recall great goalies.
Keep it up Bernd!