Granit Xhaka has taken matters into his own hands by asking Arsenal to sell him amid interest from Jose Mourinho at Roma, according to reports in Italy.
Xhaka has emerged as Mourinho’s first major target since taking over at Roma after his departure from Tottenham Hotspur. The midfielder has been with Arsenal since 2016 but has split opinion since then. He famously clashed with the fans in 2019, which prompted him to lose the captaincy.
Since then, the Switzerland international has got back on track somewhat. He made 45 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners last season; his 42 starts were more than any other outfield player at his club.
However, his future is still up for question and Mourinho is determined to get his man. The former Chelsea and Manchester United boss has not hidden his admiration of Xhaka in the past; now he wants to work with him in Rome.
There seems to be a willingness on all sides to get a deal done, but the asking price has proved an obstacle so far. Arsenal want at least €20m for Xhaka, which is higher than what Roma have offered so far. Instead, the Italians have seen three bids rejected.
Xhaka has already agreed personal terms with Roma after being convinced by Mourinho’s proposals straight away. He will earn €2.5m per season for a four-year contract if he makes the move.
For that to happen, though, Arsenal and Roma must find a kind of middle ground. With that appearing to be no closer, reports began to suggest the Serie A side were looking at alternatives from the Premier League.
But Xhaka remains insistent on getting his move and has therefore made his intentions clear to the Gunners. Now they know he does not see his future with them, they may be forced to drop their demands for him.
It is claimed that moving to Roma to work with Mourinho is an “unmissable opportunity” for the 28-year-old. Therefore, he is starting to put pressure on Arsenal to allow it to happen.
Midfielder drops Arsenal hint
If Xhaka does leave, Arsenal will need to find a replacement in the middle of the park. That need will only increase if they sell Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi as well following their loan spells away last season.
Reports have named Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves as a strong contender, as the Molineux outfit are prepared to cash in on him.
But another option Arsenal could consider would be an even more familiar face. The player in question has now sent a message about potentially returning to the club, despite that transfer track seemingly going quiet again.