Done deal: Arsenal beat Napoli to sign star, agent confirms

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Bernd Leno was close to joining Napoli under Maurizio Sarri but a ‘relaxed’ approach from the Italians allowed Arsenal to steal in.

Leno arrived at Arsenal earlier in the summer for a fee reported to be in the region of £22.5m.

According to RMC Sport and the player’s agent, Fabio Parisi, “Napoli started a negotiation with Leno when there Sarri was on the bench, then the deal went down when Ancelotti was in.

“This does not mean that it was a choice of the latter: it was evaluations made at certain times.

“Leno was available for transfer to Naples, but when the club relaxed a moment, the player felt free to listen to other offers.”

Basically, when Napoli got distracted in searching for a new manager, Leno started talking to other clubs including Arsenal.

Leno’s deal was completed on 1 July and in the middle of June Parisi admitted that he was in negotiations with Napoli but that there were English sides interested. “I take care of the negotiation with Naples, I do not think the interest of the Reds [Liverpool] is concrete,” Parisi told RMC Sport.

“There may be other interested English clubs, but I do not think the Napoli contender could be Liverpool.”

This quote was reported on 14 June.

Arsenal announced Leno five days later.

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