German side Bayer Leverkusen are seriously interested in signing Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, according to reports in Germany. A move to the Bundesliga club is looking more and more of a possibility for the Swiss international but a deal is more likely next summer.
Granit Xhaka has been a major part of Arsenal’s strong 2022-23 season. Few fans had expected the central midfielder to start games for the North London side. Disciplinary issues in the past had made him quite unpopular amongst the fans.
However, he has earned their respect back in this campaign after levelling up his performance and showing consistency. With him in the side, the Gunners team got going immediately and won matches week in and week out.
The 30-year-old joined Arsenal in 2016 from Borussia Monchengladbach. The club offered him a 3-year contract extension in 2021, which will expire in June 2024. Although the North London side have the option to extend his contract by one more year, it looks like the former club captain will leave the Emirates next summer.
As per reports in Sky Germany, Bayer Leverkusen are very keen on signing Granit Xhaka. But, a move to Germany is not much likely this summer. The Bundesliga club will try to reach an agreement in principle to sign the Swiss midfielder when his contract expires next summer.
Now, according to Italian outlet Tuttomercatoweb (via Sport Witness), the German side are looking to make a surprise move in the upcoming transfer window. The Bundesliga side want a discount from the Gunners to sign the 30-year-old, with the club willing to pay less than €10m. This does feel like a bargain which is why there are no agreements reached as of now.
Bayer Leverkusen remain interested in signing Arsenal's Granit Xhaka, according to Sky Germany ✍️ pic.twitter.com/rD2UrPTLvR
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 10, 2023
Xabi Alonso’s side are in search of an aggressive midfielder and the Swiss international does fit the bill. He has already informed his teammates about a possible return to Germany. Bayer Leverkusen had made two attempts to sign Granit Xhaka last summer, but failed. His recent development will only make the German club want him even more.
Meanwhile, the Gunners have also been looking for replacements for the former club captain. It was evident that Xhaka would leave the Emirates soon and the club have already circled a few targets. The North London side lacks squad depth in the way that they don’t have anybody who can play Xhaka’s role as well as him in his absence.
Is Arsenal Making the Correct Decision to Let Xhaka Leave?
Granit Xhaka has turned his Arsenal career around this season after a couple of poor previous campaigns. Before this season, he had become a persistent liability for the club discipline-wise. The fans did not get surprised when the Swiss got a red card in the preceding seasons, such had become the expectation from the Swiss International.
Keeping that in mind, the 30-year-old has indeed improved massively, not only individually but has also rejuvenated the team’s midfield. Very few teams in the Premier League could properly keep up with the energetic combo of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka.
The Gunners are lacking squad depth which has been evident in the last 7 games where they have secured only 9 points out of a possible 21, whilst Manchester City are just one win away from winning the league. The North London side need backup options for every position, including proper cover for both Partey and Xhaka.
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will not want the Swissman to leave after such an impressive season. This is why it makes complete sense for the club to keep him for one more season and let him run out his contract. However, the club will then not be able to make any profit from his departure. That is a risk worth taking since he has settled so well with this young squad.
The Gunners will effectively have three transfer windows to find a replacement and also a backup option in Xhaka’s position. Arteta will likely receive support from the owners in the transfer window. So it will not hurt the North London side if Granit Xhaka ends up signing a deal in principle with Bayer Leverkusen to join the club in 2024.
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