You wouldn’t really assume that Arsenal and Preston players have much reason to speak to each other.
Whilst Preston are sitting second in the Championship, Arsenal are hoping for a top four finish in the Premier League. They’re playing in Europe, they have £200,000-a-week players and are in the headlines every day.
It now turns out that one of their big-money players has a pal at Deepdale – and you have to go to Germany to find the reason for that relationship.
Preston defender Patrick Bauer and Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno both hail from the state of Baden-Württemberg in south west Germany, with Bauer from Backnang and Leno from Bietigheim-Bissingen.
Beyond them being from a similar area of Germany, they also came up through the Stuttgart ranks together. The pair are 27, meaning they came through at a similar time, but ultimately had differing career paths.
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Leno was in the Stuttgart II side before earning big move to Bayer Leverkusen in 2011, racking up more than 300 appearances for the club. Leno has also picked up six caps for Germany, and was one of the Bundesliga’s top goalkeeper before joining Arsenal for £19million in 2018 (Mirror).
Bauer left Stuttgart a year after Leno, but had to move over to Portugal with Maritimo. After impressing with the Madeira-based side, he earned his 2015 move to Charlton Athletic, and four years with the Addicks handed him the move to Preston this past summer.
Leno is in the spotlight every week, whereas Bauer is a little more low-key. Still, the pair have kept a strong friendship over the years, as Bauer has now told Transfermarkt.
Bauer has admitted they would both be ‘very happy’ to meet in the Premier League one day, but they’re in regular contact as it is, and Bauer was looking to draw Arsenal in the EFL Cup. Sadly, it was Manchester City who dumped Preston out, ruling out their reunion, but the Preston defender still wants a Premier League clash with the Arsenal ace.
“We would both be very happy about that,” said Bauer. “I’m in regular contact with him and told him at the beginning of the season that there might be a chance we would meet in the Cup. That did not work out so far, we last encountered Manchester City in the EFL Cup . But maybe there will be a chance that we will meet in the Premier League at some point,” he added.