With fan unrest and the prospect of civil war looming large, Arsenal fans were due a bit of good news.
Such news has thankfully arrived this morning with reports that the club has agreed personal terms with one of their primary transfer targets for this summer – namely Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka.
Bleacher Report Insider Dean Jones is today reporting that the deal to bring Xhaka to the Emirates has moved a significant step closer to completion as part of a squad shake up by Arsène Wenger ahead of next season.
The Swiss international has been a long time target of Wenger, and the agreement of terms with the player leaves only the small matter of a fee to be agreed between the two clubs.
The Bundesliga side are reported to be looking for around £35million to part with one of their best players – particularly as Liverpool and Dortmund are being linked with Xhaka’s midfield partner Mahmoud Dahoud – and while it is unknown if Arsenal would ultimately go that high, they are certainly looking to negotiate.
The Times recently went so far as to report that Arsenal had already submitted a bit – believed to be £24million – and while that offer was rejected, the club will look to tempt Gladbach into selling by submitting a higher offer.
Granit Xhaka: Of players to attempt 50+ dribbles in the last 2 Bundesliga seasons, Xhaka has the best success rate (83.8%)
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 28, 2016
While agreeing terms with Xhaka is certainly good news, the fact that a fee has not yet been agreed is a very significant factor. Arsenal’s frugality has cost them in the past – with deals for stars such as Gonzalo Higuaín and Julian Draxler failing to get over the line – so for this transfer to happen, they may finally to have to agree to pay more than they are necessarily happy with.
Xhaka will play a key role in the Switzerland squad at this summer’s European Championships in France – should he have a strong tournament, Arsenal could well have competition for the player. Manchester City and Liverpool were keen on the 23 year old at one point, while a Bundesliga prospect can scarcely sneeze without Bayern Munich assessing the situation.
With the likes of Mathieu Flamini, Tomáš Rosický and Mikel Arteta all set to be released this summer, as well the speculation surrounding the futures of players such as Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs, it might well be one of the biggest Arsenal squad overhauls in years.
For now, though, guaranteeing Champions League qualification for next year should be the focus between now and the end of the season.