The Rheinische Post has reported that Arsenal have submitted a €43 million bid for Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Granit Xhaka. According to the report, an agreement between the clubs is imminent and the fee includes appearance and achievement clauses.
The Rheinische Post is a major German daily newspaper in the Mönchengladbach area and is well placed within the club.
Rheinische Post (very reliable for Gladbach) say tonight Arsenal have bid €43 million for Granit Xhaka and that an agreement is imminent.
— Archie Rhind-Tutt (@archiert1) May 10, 2016
Reports linking Xhaka with Arsenal have been rife that past few weeks, with the player recently stating that despite rumors, no bid had been made. Considering the amount of smoke surrounding this story, it does seem that the Gunners have genuine interest, and considering the source, it’s likely a bid has indeed been placed.
Xhaka is a defensive midfield stalwart who is unafraid of playing physically or picking up yellow cards. He is a good passer, and an excellent leader having captained his current club despite being only 23-years old. With reports circulating that Arsene Wenger wants to strengthen the spine of his squad, this is exactly the kind of signing that could do that.
Arsenal will see three central midfielders leave the club this season. Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, and Tomas Rosicky are all out of contract and will not return. That leaves Arsenal with Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, and Mohamed Elneny in midfield.
Wilshere’s injury history, Ramsey’s penchant for missing a few months per season with a muscular injury, Cazorla’s age, and Coquelin’s relative lack of versatility, means central midfield is one of the lighter areas of the squad. Xhaka’s addition would add both depth and quality at center mid.
We may see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain feature more prominently in the middle of the park next season. Youngster like Gedion Zelalem, who has been on loan with Rangers, and Jon Toral, who had a superb season in the Championship with Birmingham, could also feature in the senior squad next year as role players. However, none of those three would significantly improve the quality of the club’s central midfield depth, nor can they provide the physical presence the squad needs.
Arsenal’s quick movement with this deal, if the report is accurate, is a good indication of things to come. Hopefully the manager follows up on it with a few more incisive deals at center back, striker, and possibly a wide attacking player.