Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka is strongly rumoured to exit the Emirates Stadium this summer, with Bayer Leverkusen interested in a move. According to reports, the Bundesliga side are planning a move for the Swiss midfielder this summer.
The Gunners are busy tweaking their squad for the upcoming new season, on both fronts – incomings as well as exits. The Gunners want to trim down their squad and wage bill so that they can sign the players which are required by manager Mikel Arteta.
Last summer, Xhaka was strongly linked with an exit from the Emirates. He was very close to leaving the North London club for AS Roma. However, he eventually signed a contract extension with the club and spent the season at Arsenal, registering numerous starts and a few crucial performances under his belt.
The 29-year-old midfielder has had a good 21/22 season under manager Mikel Arteta and was the primary midfielder alongside Thomas Partey. Now again ahead of the 2022/23 season, reports suggest that the player is slated for an exit, with interest from Germany.
According to Mirror, Bayer Leverkusen are keeping tabs on Granit Xhaka and plan to make a move for him in this transfer window. With Arsenal interested in signing Youri Tielemans from Leicester City, the report stated that the German club are hoping for the Tielemans signing to facilitate their approach for the Swiss international.
Mikel Arteta wants to upgrade his midfield in this transfer window and thus, has eyed the Belgian midfielder. The Gunners are feeling positive about striking a deal with the Foxes soon, which would allow the club to let the former Basel player leave.
Granit Xhaka arrived at Arsenal from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2016, for a reported fee of around £35m. Since then, he has had a turbulent time with the North London club, with fans often pointing fingers at him for the club’s failures. The Swiss midfielder’s time at the Emirates has been full of controversies and drama.
🚨 Bayer Leverkusen are interested in Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, whose departure could force the Gunners to step up their pursuit of Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans. ⚫️🔴 #Bayer04
— Topskills Sports UK (@topskillssports) June 12, 2022
He was even appointed as the club captain after being deemed the popular choice among the players. However in 2019, after an altercation with the home fans at the Emirates during a match against Crystal Palace, he was stripped of the captaincy by then manager Unai Emery. Ever since, the relationship between the Swiss captain and the fans has not been amiable.
However, since picking up a red card against Man City in the third game-week of the recently concluded season, Xhaka has turned around his performance proficiently. He made 27 Premier League appearances and got one goal and two assists (stats via transfermarkt). This proves how much faith Arteta had in his abilities to play in the midfield alongside Partey.
Before Arsenal, Xhaka spent four seasons with Monchengladbach. He was a key player for the side and is still regarded highly in Germany. However, the final decision rests with manager Arteta whether he will let the midfielder leave the club this season.
The Spanish manager has been very clear with his stance on having depth in his squad ahead of the upcoming season. The North London club, though missed out on a top-four finish, will play in the Europa League next season and the Spaniard wants several options in his squad. Speaking on this topic, Arteta said in April:
“Both competitions (the Champions League and Europa League) require a much larger squad because the number of games you play is much bigger, so I don’t think it makes a lot of difference (which competition Arsenal qualify for).
“If you can afford it, and we don’t have to do the turnaround in the squad that we’ve had to do, if you ask me what I want it’s 22 outfield players and three goalkeepers.”
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Arteta will need at least four quality midfielders in the squad if he wants the Gunners to mount a proper challenge in all the competitions next season. He will also target a top-four finish in the Premier League and hope to win at least one trophy.
Arsenal used Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga in the 2021/22 season. If Granit Xhaka leaves for Bayer Leverkusen, Arsenal will need to add at least 2 new midfielders to the squad to be on the safe side.
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