Roma are confident of signing Granit Xhaka after the Swiss midfielder signalled that he is willing to leave Arsenal this summer, football.london understands.
Xhaka was persuaded to stay at Arsenal by manager Mikel Arteta in January 2020, with a move to Hertha Berlin in advanced stages after the 28-year-old agreed terms with the Bundesliga side.
The former Borussia Monchengladbach captain, who is also admired by his former club, is happy in London and recently became a father for the second time, but is understood to be attracted by the prospect of playing under new Roma boss Jose Mourinho, whom he has huge respect for.
Since arriving from Gladbach in 2016, Xhaka has made over 200 appearances for the Gunners and established himself as a regular under former coaches Arsene Wenger, Unai Emery as well as current boss Arteta.
Mourinho publicly praised Xhaka two years ago and is a keen admirer of the experienced midfielder, and he has also attempted to sign the Basel-born star on a number of occasions.
“Xhaka is the main man in the entire Arsenal midfield, you can’t see it unless I lend you one of my eyes,” he said.
“Without him, Arsenal is lost. He is a leader. Remember, mistakes are made by humans.”
The Gunners have told Roma that the starting point for negotiations will begin at £20million, with two years remaining on Xhaka’s current contract, and are keen to wrap up any deal before he heads off to the Euros with Switzerland in less than a fortnight’s time.
Arsenal are looking to raise in excess of £60million with player sales this summer, and need to sell before they can buy, with Norwich midfielder Emi Buendia at the top of their wishlist.
The Gunners are exploring the possibility of including a player in a potential deal for Buendia – who is keen on joining – although Arsenal have yet to make a formal approach to the Canaries for their prized asset, with any deal expected to come after Arteta’s side sell players.
A move for Buendia is dependent on whether Real Madrid want to keep Martin Odegaard, and reports coming out of Spain have suggested that the Norwegian is keen on fighting for a place at the Bernabeu following the departure of Zinedine Zidane.
Matteo Guendouzi is also expected to leave Arsenal in the coming weeks with Marseille the current favourites to sign the French midfielder.
The 22-year-old spent the 2020/21 season on loan at Hertha Berlin, but fell out of favour towards the end of his spell there with the Bundesliga side opting against making his move permanent.
Xhaka and Guendouzi are set to be joined by Lucas Torreira who wants to leave Arsenal permanently this summer.
Torreira wants to stay in Spain but it’s unclear whether Atletico Madrid will look to sign the Uruguayan, after he made just 19 appearances for Diego Simeone’s title-winning side.
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A goalscoring midfielder is at the top of Arsenal’s wishlist for this summer, while they also want to strengthen in both fullback positions. They remain keen on Brighton star Yves Bissouma, who wants to join the Gunners – but no formal contact has been made with the Seagulls yet.
Meanwhile, contrary to reports, William Saliba will not be included in a swap deal for any player this summer and sources have told football.london that the French defender will report for pre-season duty in July, where he is expected to fight for a place in the Gunners defence.