Arsenal are in talks to sign Granit Xhaka from Borussia Mochengladbach at the end of the season, according to BILD.
Xhaka is very highly rated in Germany and it was thought that Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp wanted to bring him to their new English projects, having experienced his quality first hand in the Bundesliga.
But this latest report from BILD makes it seem as if the Gunners have the upper hand in negotiations. The report says Arsene Wenger has already met with the players agent and a €50million package has been put aside for the deal: €43million transfer fee, €5million to the player and €2million for the agent. This seems feasible – but how would BILD have access to all that information? Who knows, but they claim it as an exclusive in today’s papers.
Standing at 6ft 1 and aged just 23, Xhaka has managed an impressive 39 caps for Switzerland, scoring 6 goals in the process.
So how does Xhaka compare to Arsenal’s current crop of central midfielders? With Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta set to leave, would Xhaka offer an improvement on the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin? We take a look at the stats sourced from Squawka.
A stat that really jumps out at me is Xhaka’s 3.38 aerial duels won per game, that is significantly more than any other midfielder we have. An aerial presence in the heart of the Arsenal midfield has been missing since Patrick Vieira left. Xhaka’s defensive stats are all impressive, as he can also be a goal scoring threat.
These statistics highlight that Xhaka is a defensive minded midfielder that is not as limited offensively as Coquelin. I think he would replace the Frenchman in the midfield, but could play alongside him if Arsene wished to take a more defensive approach to a game. If Xhaka is to play in the deepest role, then he may have to perfect his passing a little and try and get to the level of Cazorla (90%) – but this could come naturally in an Arsenal team that passes the ball more often than Mochengladbach.
If Arsenal wish to snap up Xhaka they’ll have to move fast with Manchester City and Liverpool just two of a number of clubs interested in signing the Swiss International.