Premier League • England

Arsenal midfielder tells Arteta he wants out as Edu increases asking price for second exit-linked star

Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka

The midfield transformation at Arsenal has developed after Thomas Partey reportedly told Mikel Arteta he wants to leave – but the chances of Granit Xhaka quitting have taken a twist.

Partey and Xhaka made up the midfield combination that Arteta relied upon during the 2022-23 season. Behind attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard, they provided a stable base in the department.

However, Arsenal’s efforts to clinch the Premier League title ultimately fell short. Ahead of the new season, they will be making some adjustments to their squad.

And despite the importance of Xhaka and Partey to their setup in 2022-23, both have been expected to move on this summer.

Arsenal are about to break their transfer record to sign Declan Rice from West Ham. They have already added Kai Havertz from Chelsea as well.

In theory, they could set up next season with Rice as a holding midfielder behind Odegaard and Havertz. Therefore, Xhaka and Partey may be surplus to requirements.

And aware of his changing status, Partey has asked Arteta if he can leave the club this summer, according to a report by Football Transfers.

Partey may have suitors in Saudi Arabia and has also been suggested as a potential target for Juventus. The report claims he would like Arsenal’s help in terms of finding any additional takers.

READ MOREArsenal bombard West Ham with swoop for second player after Declan Rice; latest target ‘refusing’ to stay

Indeed, Arteta is said to have given the green light for Partey to leave, albeit with a degree of reluctance. The transfer fee will have to be right for Arsenal to accept an offer, anyway.

Partey’s future will be discussed in finer detail during a follow-up meeting with the club, though it is not yet clear when that might take place.

Xhaka exit hits roadblock but Arsenal identify next midfield target

Meanwhile, there has been an interesting development in relation to Xhaka. For a while, it has appeared to be a foregone conclusion that he would be on his way to Bayer Leverkusen.

But the Daily Mirror is now reporting that the Bundesliga side’s plans for the Switzerland international may tempt Arsenal to ask for a higher transfer fee before selling him.

It is claimed that Bayer Leverkusen would offer Xhaka a contract lasting for at least four years. In light of him being a long-term signing, Arsenal believe they would be entitled to raise their demands before letting him go.

Now, Edu may try to negotiate a deal with Bayer Leverkusen closer to the £20m mark. The German side, who have Europa League football on offer next season, were hoping to take Xhaka away from Arsenal for less.

Arsenal won’t completely stand in their former captain’s way of leaving. But the 30-year-old may have to wait a little longer before his current club free him up to join Bayer Leverkusen.

Once he is out the door, Arsenal may yet look for another midfield addition, bearing in mind that Havertz is a far more attacking option than either of the midfielders Arsenal may let go.

Besides, their remaining backups would be Jorginho and Mohamed Elneny, each of whom are the wrong side of 30.

Therefore, Football Transfers has suggested that Arsenal are ready to step up their interest in the in-demand Southampton starlet, Romeo Lavia.

Romeo Lavia

It seems to be a battle between Arsenal and Liverpool to sign Lavia, while Chelsea are also in contention to lift him back up to the Premier League after Southampton’s relegation to the Championship.

But Arsenal are apparently ready to accelerate their negotiations with Southampton, making use of their strong connections with Lavia’s agent too.

At just 19 years of age, Lavia could become a long-term successor in Arsenal’s midfield, along with the 24-year-old Rice and 24-year-old Havertz.