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Where there's smoke: Granit Xhaka

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Lots of noise, but what does it all mean?

I kinda like those shirts, but he'd look better in red and white
I kinda like those shirts, but he'd look better in red and white
Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images

We've been hearing for a while now that one of Arsenal's big transfer targets this coming summer is Gladbach's Granit Xhaka (and not one of those other Granit Xhakas, I guess?). It was by no means a done deal, but that's the one name that has popped up several times in discussions about who Arsenal need/want/will buy.

Well, today, there's a lot of...words about that potential transfer, and most of them are not exactly clarifying the situation. FourFourTwo says that Xhaka is happy where he is, but that he said:

"I am really happy at Borussia and have a contract until June 2020," the 23-year-old told Kicker. "If an offer comes in, the club and I will look at it together."

So, as you were then. The Daily Mail takes a more predictably optimistic stance that Xhaka will come to Arsenal, as Gladbach's sporting director admits that they can't really hope to hold on to the player, no matter where he goes:

'We will fight for Granit,' Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl told Germany paper Kicker on Monday. 'There are clubs how (sic) can offer an even bigger chance of playing Champions League and competing for titles and trophies.'

Which is great, but still not very clear - not that that's a surprise, especially this early in transfer season, which of course hasn't started yet. ESPN is reporting that no offer from Arsenal has been made at all, which again is not a huge surprise.

But wait! There's more! 101GreatGoals, that paragon of journalistic excellence, says that according to German channel Sport1, the transfer is basically done:

Sport 1 claim the transfer is "imminent" and that "everything is fixed with Arsenal", while it's predicted that the midfielder will cost between 30 to 40 million euros.

Crystal clear, right? Great.

The only worrisome part of any of these stories to me - and I will again stress that it has yet to be confirmed if any of them hold truth at all, so giant grains of salt all over the place please - is this from the Mail piece:

Borussia chiefs are adamant the Gunners meet their £35m asking price, but Arsenal are trying to negotiate a lower fee.

At some point, Arsene and Arsenal are going to have to realize that the way to procure a scarce asset in a market with many suitors is pretty much exactly not "I have an idea! Let's see if they'll accept less than they want to accept". This type of situation is exactly what I mean when I say I want Arsene to reform his spending policy - if Gladbach want £35 million, and you want the player, just open the damn checkbook and give it to them, don't try to bargain them down.