Lukas Hradecky joins Bayer Leverkusen as Bernd Leno exit looms

Bayer Leverkusen have confirmed the signing of Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky on a free transfer.

The Finn, who has signed a five-year deal with Der Werkself, is likely to replace Bernd Leno, who is expected to leave the club during the summer, as the club’s number one.

A key figure for Frankfurt

Hradecky joined the Eagles in 2015 as the replacement for Kevin Trapp, who joined Paris Saint-Germain, having played for Turun Palloseura in Finland before spending six years in Denmark with Esbjerg fB, whom he won the Danish Cup with, and Bröndby IF.

Following his debut, a 2-1 defeat to VfL Wolfsburg, the 28-year-old missed just one match, due to suspension, in all competitions, helping the club to defend their Bundesliga status in the Relegation play-off in 2016 before two consecutive DFB-Pokal final appearances, culminating in the victory over Bayern Munich on Saturday, which was his final game for the club.

Now considered one of the Bundesliga’s leading keepers, Hradecky has was 36 caps at international level for Finland, and will now look to build his growing reputation with Heiko Herrlich’s side. He is the third Finn to play for the club, following Sami Hyypiä and Joel Pohjanpalo.

Hradecky taking an “important step”

Hradecky described the move to one of Germany’s top clubs as “an important step in my career,” and he hopes that he can “continue to develop at this level” and “achieve a lot at Leverkusen in the coming years.”

The club’s hierarchy spoke highly of him as well, with Sporting Director Rudi Völler describing him as “an outstanding goalkeeper” who has “great experience” in both the Bundesliga and internationally.

Jonas Boldt, the club’s Sporting Manager, spoke highly of “his impressive reflexes” and believes he is “particularly strong in one-on-one.” He also thinks that “he will bring stability to our young team on and off the pitch.”

His arrival all but confirmed that Leno will leave the club before the start of the new season. He has, according to reports, turned down a move to SSC Napoli, and remains linked with Atlético Madrid and Arsenal. He also has the small matter of a likely trip to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, assuming he is named in Joachim Löw’s final 23-man squad for the tournament.

Quotes via Bayer Leverkusen.