Transfer talk: Granit Xhaka ‘probably switching’ to Arsenal in major outlay – report

A German outlet is reporting Swiss defensive midfielder Granit Xhaka and Arsenal may already have an agreement in place which would rival some of their most expensive recent transfers.

Granit Xhaka shown during a match with Switzerland in 2014 World Cup qualifying. Sebastien Bozon / AFP / October 15, 2013
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A report published on Monday night in German outlet Sport1 says Granit Xhaka "has probably found his new employer" and that it is Arsenal.

The German-language report says, roughly, "for months now there have been all sorts of rumours" regarding the future of the Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder. Under a headline that reads "Xhaka to Arsenal already fixed?" and a line reading "Granit Xhaka is probably changing to Arsenal from England" Sport1 say they have learned he is imminently headed for "a switch to Arsenal".

The report posits that rumours have died down surrounding Xhaka in recent weeks because his future may be “already settled”.

Gladbach, who thanks to goal difference effectively have fourth place locked up in the Bundesliga with one match to play, will be playing in the Champions League play-off round next season with a chance to return to the group stage. Xhaka, a Kosovo-born Switzerland international, made 27 league starts for the club, and another five in their Champions League campaign.

• Read more: Forget Leicester – what about the topsy-turvy seasons for Arsenal and the rest?

• Also see: The National's Transfer Talk page

A talented defensive midfielder, the 23-year-old would be a natural reinforcement to an Arsenal side who have long lacked depth at the position. Until this year, with the emergence of Francis Coquelin, Arsene Wenger rarely even had a single natural fill for the role.

The Sport1 report says Xhaka has a release clause in his contract that is expected to cost €30-40 million (Dh125.5-167.4m). His contract runs until 2019.

Asked recently by Kicker magazine about his future, Xhaka reportedly said, "the decision is not solely to me," referencing his contract situation.

At €30-40 million (£ 23.7-31.6m) Xhaka would rival some of Arsenal's most pricey recent transfers, including the July 2014 purchase of Alexis Sanchez (£30m) from Barcelona and the September 2013 outlay for Mesut Ozil (£42.5m) from Real Madrid.

It remains to be seen whether Wenger will even have a future at the club to dictate, with discontent swirling among supporters after a season that has seen them come up well short in a title bid and looks likely to even produce rivals’ Spurs first finish above Arsenal in over 20 years.

The German report couched its certainty multiple times, however, punctuating with question marks and tweeting out a graphic that merely said, “Xhaka and Gunners agreed?”

Xhaka has been a mainstay in Monchengladbach since his move from FC Basel prior to the 2012/13 season, and he helped them climb from eighth that year to fifth the next and into the Champions League places the past two years. He also helped Switzerland reach the 2014 World Cup and will figure prominently into the Swiss Euro 2016 effort.

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