The 2023 Premier League season has not yet officially ended, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from kicking into full gear already. Arsenal are linked to a handful of potential incoming targets as Mikel Arteta looks to springboard this season’s unexpected success into stocking the cabinet with fresh talent this summer.
But in Mikel Arteta’s long-term rebuild, the outgoing are going to be just as important as the incomings. The Great Purge when Arteta took over was ruthless and necessary, but it’s not quite over. This season showed that Arsenal’s depth needs more retooling if it wants to be competitive across multiple fronts.
On Wednesday morning, the first rumored departure was leaked, as it has been reported that Granit Xhaka could be bound for Germany.
Granit Xhaka poised for Arsenal exit with Leverkusen close to £13m deal https://t.co/rQKSu0vGHO— The Guardian (@guardian) May 16, 2023
The Swiss international’s likely landing spot is with Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, a league with which he has great familiarity. He joined Arsenal in 2016 from Borussia Monchengladbach, where he played for four seasons prior.
This isn’t the first time Xhaka has been linked with a move away from Arsenal. Last summer, it was rumored that he had agreed to terms with Serie A side Roma, with the move ultimately falling through due to the two clubs not seeing eye to eye on the fee.
The move is probably best for both parties. Xhaka is 30 and still has a few productive years ahead of him, but if Arsenal want to continue raising their ceiling as well as their floor, they will need to keep churning out older players to make space for younger, bright talent. Between him, Jorginho, Thomas Partey, and Mohammed Elneny, the bulk of Arsenal’s midfield rotation is ancient compared to the rest of the positional units.
With rumors swirling around Arsenal’s pursuit of Declan Rice, the writing seems to be on the wall for the veteran. If he goes, it will be with his head held high and with the admiration of the Arsenal faithful after his most productive season for the Gunners.
We will keep this space updated as the situation evolves.