Arsenal must replace Granit Xhaka if the Emirates Stadium outfit sell the midfielder this summer, journalist Dean Jones has told GIVEMESPORT.
Mikel Arteta could be losing the services of the 30-year-old from his Gunners squad in the upcoming transfer window.
Arsenal transfer news – Granit Xhaka
According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Xhaka is set to depart Arsenal and seek a new challenge with Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen this summer.
The German side are in advanced negotiations to sign the experienced midfielder for a €15m fee (just over £13m), with personal terms reached on a four-year deal.
The £120,000 per-week earner’s move back to Germany would bring his seven-year association with the Gunners to an end, having signed for the north London outfit for a reported fee of £35m from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2016.
Journalist Paul Brown has recently told GIVEMESPORT that the former Arsenal captain could be tempted to leave the Emirates Stadium to avoid playing second-fiddle to a new midfield recruit next season.
And Jones believes that whilst the move “might not seem like a big deal right now,” Arteta’s squad could miss his experience moving forward.
What has Jones said about Arsenal and Xhaka?
Jones told GIVEMESPORT: “This exit might not seem like a big deal right now, but Xhaka is one of the leaders of this team, and they don’t have many experienced players like that to lean on.
“On and off the field, I hear about how he helps manage situations, and that is not easy to replace. Arsenal’s focus is on youth, but that does not mean losing a 30-year-old will be okay. Arsenal need to replace him now, and they must be confident they have something set up.”
Who could replace Xhaka at Arsenal?
With Xhaka’s departure seeming to be a matter of when, not if, the Gunners will look to accelerate their interest in several midfielders during the summer transfer market.
According to MailOnline, Arsenal are willing to pay £90m to West Ham United for the services of club captain Declan Rice, as the north London outfit looks to loosen the purse strings enabling Arteta to strengthen his squad.
The same publication reports that Rice’s potential salary could exceed £300,000 per week, making him one of the highest earners at the club.
Meanwhile, The Times has reported that Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke could free up a budget of more than £200m to sign Rice and Brighton & Hove Albion’s Moises Caicedo, who put in an impressive display in the Seagulls’ 3-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium last Sunday.
Therefore, if Arsenal are trying to sign both Rice and Caicedo, it makes sense for the club to offload Xhaka, now on the wrong side of 30, to free up space and wages this summer.