A senior Arsenal star wants a fresh challenge this summer and a trusted reporter has revealed where he’s likeliest to move and for how much.
Despite the late-season capitulation, it cannot be argued Arsenal have taken giant strides forward this term.
The Gunners will grace the Champions League for the first time since 2017 next year. To ensure Mikel Arteta has the tools to compete on multiple fronts, the Times recently revealed a £200m summer spend is planned.
Midfield is the area expected to hoover up the headlines, with the greenlight given to pursue Moises Caicedo of Brighton and West Ham’s Declan Rice.
In the event one – or both – are signed, the odd man out in Arteta’s midfield will be Granit Xhaka.
The 30-year-old has thrived in more of a box-to-box role this season and is among the club’s leaders on the pitch.
However, Arsenal are seemingly prepared to sign an expensive upgrade and speculation Xhaka will be forced out as opposed to benched is swirling.
Indeed, the Daily Mail namechecked Xhaka as a player who could make way if Rice is plucked from West Ham. A fresh update from journalist Florian Plettenberg has shed further light on the situation.
Xhaka to Bayer Leverkusen ‘looking very good’
The Sky Germany reporter tweeted a return to Germany is on the cards with Bayer Leverkusen ‘pushing to sign’ Xhaka. The Switzerland international joined Arsenal from German outfit Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016.
Plettenberg added Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso views Xhaka as a ‘top leader’ and someone who can be a crucial cog in the machine he’s building. Leverkusen have won 17 of 34 matches since Alonso took charge and are very much a club on the rise once again.
Plettenberg also noted Xhaka is seemingly open to moving when declaring he ‘wants to take on another challenge this summer’.
Xhaka remains fully focused on ending the season strongly in north London, though once concluded, a return to Germany will ramp up.
On the subject of cost, the reporter added Xhaka is now valued around the €15m (approx. £13m) mark.
That is a far cry from the roughly £30m he was signed for in 2017, though is merely a by-product of the fact he’s now the wrong side of 30.
Plettenberg noted negotiations between Arsenal and Leverkusen are yet to open. However, all the signs are pointing towards a deal and the reporter concluded a potential transfer ‘is looking very good’.
In a subsequent update, Fabrizio Romano confirmed Xhaka is set to depart the Emirates at season’s end.
Per Romano personal terms that includes a four-year deal are “almost agreed”.