Granit Xhaka’s desire to seek out a new challenge has been put on hold at the start of the summer transfer window, but his move to Bayer Leverkusen is now nearing completion.
The Swiss midfielder enjoyed his best season to date in Arsenal colours last time out as Mikel Arteta deployed him in a more advanced #8 function which saw him register 14 goal contributions in 37 Premier League appearances.
Xhaka emerged as Arteta’s iron man after completely overturning his fortunes in north London. Once so often a scapegoat, Xhaka blossomed into an invaluable dressing room leader amid Martin Odegaard’s rise to captaincy and a genuine fan’s favourite over the past two years.
His seven-year stay at the Emirates, however, is coming to an end.
Granit Xhaka nearing Bayer Leverkusen move
Xhaka bade the perfect farewell to supporters on the final day of the season as he scored twice in a 5-0 thrashing of Wolves. The midfielder said his goodbyes post-match, with reports at the time suggesting a move to Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen was imminent.
However, there’s been little movement on that front over the past month with the Gunners firmly focused on incomings. Kai Havertz has already joined the club with Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber poised to follow in his footsteps.
Havertz has been touted as a potential Xhaka successor in Arteta’s midfield, although speculation has emerged in recent days of the Swiss international potentially remaining at the club. However, Football London’s Kaya Kaynak reports that Arsenal have reached a deal with Bayer Leverkusen for their former captain. Kaynak writes that a £21.5m fee has been agreed between the two clubs – more than the £15m Xhaka was initially expected to depart for.
Considering his age and contract situation at Arsenal (just one year left on his deal), the Gunners have done an excellent job of securing that fee. While Xhaka will be a huge loss both on and off the field, the club believe that in Declan Rice, they’ve secured the services of a future skipper and a midfielder capable of elevating Arteta’s project to the next level.