LONDON - English Premier League side Arsenal are closing in on a deal to sign Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno on a five-year deal, according to British media reports.
The German international is likely to be new manager Unai Emery's second acquisition after Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner joined on a free transfer from Juventus earlier this month.
Leno, who was named in Joachim Loew's provisional World Cup squad but failed to make the final cut for Russia, kept 10 clean sheets in the Bundesliga last season and is seen as a long-term replacement for Petr Cech, who turned 36 last month.
The north London club will look to improve on their sixth-placed finish in long-time manager Arsene Wenger's last season at the helm and start the new campaign with a tricky home match against champions Manchester City in August.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid made a triple swoop at France's World Cup training base on Monday, announcing new contracts for talismanic striker Antoine Griezmann and defender Lucas Hernandez as well as officially signing midfielder Thomas Lemar from AS Monaco.
Great news from Russia. @AntoGriezmann has signed his renvovation until 2023, @LucasHernandez until 2024 and Lemar has signed his contract #AúpaAtleti https://t.co/bTPkTFdhIb pic.twitter.com/s0EFsVbX9O— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) June 18, 2018
The Liga side said in a statement that all three contracts were signed in the presence of Atletico's chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin, who had travelled to the France team's base in the Russian town of Istria. France striker Griezmann had revealed last Thursday on Spanish television in a documentary called 'The Decision' that he had rejected a move to Spanish champions Barcelona to stay at Atletico.
Defender Hernandez, meanwhile, extended his contract until 2024, and winger Lemar signed a deal to join Atletico which they said was subject to him passing a medical and their prelmininary deal with AS Monaco being formalised. According to reports in the Spanish media, the deal for Lemar is worth more than 70 million euros ($81.34 million), making him the most expensive player in Atletico's history.
Griezmann, 27, joined Atletico in July 2014 from Real Sociedad and has finished top scorer with the Madrid side in each season he has been at the club. He scored twice in their 3-0 win in the Europa League final over Olympique de Marseille last month. Defender Hernandez, whose brother Theo signed for Atletico's arch rivals Real Madrid last year, came through the club's youth academy and made his debut in 2014.Reuters