The Granit Xhaka to Roma transfer rumor has been floating around for a while now, and today, Chris Wheatley tweeted that the Swiss midfielder is getting closer to signing for the Italian side. New Roma coach Jose Mourinho has spoken highly of Xhaka, and Xhaka has done the same of the manager. That said, there has been little reporting on whether Arsenal and Roma are close to an agreement for a transfer fee. The latest I saw was that Roma were still about £10M below Arsenal’s £25-£30M valuation / asking price.
The Gunners have been linked with a number of different holding midfielders this summer and seem likely to bring one in regardless of whether Xhaka is sold because Thomas Partey will miss a chunk of the winter for the Africa Cup of Nations. Yesterday, the links were to Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, who doesn’t seem to be a significant upgrade. Arsenal have also been linked with Sheffield United’s Sander Berge and Brighton’s Yves Bissouma.
Right now, the Blades appear to be holding out for a ridiculously high fee for Berge. Bissouma, on the other hand, has reportedly told his agent that he’d like a move to Arsenal and has posted a picture of himself in an Arsenal jersey to Instagram. For what it’s worth, Bissouma is apparently close friends with Nicolas Pépé and wants to play on the same team.
Circling back to Xhaka, should he move to Roma (or elsewhere), replacing him will be a tall order. He has been one of Arsenal’s most important players for several seasons. The Gunners are better with him in the lineup than without, and both the performances and the results bears that out. By all accounts, he’s also a leader on the pitch and in the locker room. It seems more likely than not, however, that Arsenal will be doing just that this summer — moving on from Xhaka and looking to replace his contributions.