Arsenal transfer decision pays off with Granit Xhaka on cusp of £21.5m exit


Arsenal’s decision to keep Granit Xhaka amid interest from Roma in 2021 has paid off with the Gunners now reportedly set to receive £21.5million for the midfielder. Xhaka was linked with a switch to Serie A two years ago for a much smaller fee, but was convinced to stay by Mikel Arteta. 

At the time of Roma’s interest, Xhaka was still a much-maligned figure at the Emirates Stadium. In the two years since, the 30-year-old has rekindled his relationship with the Arsenal fanbase and blossomed into a well-liked figure, guiding the Gunners’ young stars on their Premier League title pursuit last season. 

Xhaka’s improvement has ensured that Arsenal will earn much more money for his departure two years on from his curtailed switch to Roma. After an impressive season under Arteta, the Switzerland international is set to leave for Bayer Leverkusen. 

Arsenal are claimed to have rejected a £12.9m offer from Roma in 2021. It would have been a meagre fee for a player who went on to have an extremely impactful 48 months in North London. 

According to Football.London, Leverkusen are now set to pay nearly double that fee. Xhaka is now supposedly closing in on a £21.5m switch to the Bundesliga outfit. 

Receiving a much bigger fee shows that Arsenal’s decision to keep Xhaka two years ago has paid off. Last year, the midfielder explained how close that deal came to happening and opened up on the talks with Arteta and sporting director Edu that convinced him to remain. 

“It was something, yes. Very close,” Xhaka said in June 2022. “It didn’t happen because Mikel was the guy with Edu, they didn’t let me go because they wanted to keep me here. 

“Of course, my first reaction was to stay at the football club. But they opened the door: ‘If something comes, I can leave’. 

“I have to be honest as well. I don’t want to say a name now, but the door was open for me to leave the club as well. But in the end, people decided to keep me here.”

Arsenal had actually come close to selling Xhaka to Leverkusen for just £13m earlier this summer, but instead waited for a replacement to arrive before negotiating a new fee. After welcoming Declan Rice, they will now receive £8.5m more than they initially were happy to accept. 

A £21.5m fee for Xhaka will help to offset a big summer outlay, with Arteta doubling down on last season’s shock Premier League title pursuit. In a series of statement arrivals, Kai Havertz has already arrived from Chelsea, while Arsenal are believed to be closing in on deals for Rice and Jurrien Timber. 

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