Arsenal are preparing to offer Granit Xhaka, who looked to go against the Emirates Stadium’s front door, a new contract.
The 28-year-old had received tips for joining Jose Mourinho in Roma this season, and ended a tumultuous five-year spell in north London that has seen Switzerland’s international swing between fan favorite and pantomime villain.
But Rome’s interest seems to have waned and a suitable bid has not come. This, reported by The Athletic, could lead to new conditions for Xhaka at Arsenal, extend his stay at the club and possibly end the pursuit of other midfield goals.
Arsenal had looked at moves for Wolves’ Ruben Neves, Brighton’s Yves Bissouma and Lyon’s Bruno Guimaraes, among others, but these plans can now be made if Xhaka stops staying at the club.
Albert Sambi Lokonga has already joined from Anderlecht and joins Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny as Mikel Arteta’s anchor opportunities, while Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Lucas Torreira remain in Arsenal’s books – although all their long-term futures are unclear.
Manuel Locatelli is another player who has been linked with Arsenal, but the Italian – who impressed for his country during their successful Euro 2020 campaign – is likely to join Juventus, now back under the leadership of league winner and former boss Massimiliano Allegri.
Staying at Xhaka should not affect Arsenal’s desire to sign more creative, forward-looking midfielders. Leicester’s James Maddison fits that profile, while interest remains in Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard – he spent the second half of last season on loan at Arsenal.
The Gunners also close in on Brighton’s Ben White. The 23-year-old has undergone a medical examination before a move of 50 million pounds, and he is given the task of adding stability to an Arsenal defense in desperate need of freshening up.