Arsenal have their sights set on Borussia Monchengladbach captain Granit Xhaka to bolster their midfield, while experienced winger Theo Walcott is the subject of serious interest from West Ham United.
Granit Xhaka has long been rumoured to be one of the biggest summer transfer targets for the Gunners as they look at a squad re-haul after yet another disappointing season both in the Premier League and in Europe.
Arsenal submit £34 million bid for Granit Xhaka
The Gunners have finally made their first move to sign their long-term target, submitting a bid of £34 million plus bonuses to Bundesliga club Borussia Monchengladbach for their captain Granit Xhaka, according to German media outlet RP-Online.
The 23-year-old Swiss midfielder has been one of the mainstays of the Monchengladbach side since arriving from FC Basel in 2012. He is a central midfielder who normally plays deeper in midfield for his current side, but can also contribute to attack. Xhaka has an 85% pass completion rate this season, which shows his composure on the ball and excellent passing ability.
His contract with Borussia Monchengladbach runs till 2019, but has an alleged exit clause of £22 million which comes into effect in the summer of 2017. This means that this summer is the perfect time for the German club to sell him for a high value, as Arsenal are willing to surpass that amount after having scouted the player extensively over the past few months.
Xhaka had played up possibilities of a move to the Premier League in March, saying, “Everyone has a childhood dream – to me this is England . This does not mean that I have to go away or want . I am enormously happy here , fit for me. But you have to sometimes look at other things.”
The Swiss midfielder would be an excellent buy for Arsenal and would strengthen a position that will be left compromised as the trio of Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky will all be waving goodbye to the Emirates Stadium in the coming summer.
West Ham United eyeing a move for Theo Walcott
After peaking in 2012-13, Theo Walcott’s career at the Emirates has been severely damaged by a combination of injuries, bad form and uncertain positioning. Having started out as a right winger, he has also been deployed as a lone striker by manager Arsene Wenger and seems to be shuffling between the two positions without making much of an impact in either role.
Earlier in April, Wenger admitted he was unsure of Walcott’s future with the Gunners, saying that the 27-year-old had gone through a bad phase and suggesting that his future at the club was not assured. The lack of much first team football means that the Englishman would also be keen to make a move to a new club to resurrect his ailing career.
West Ham United are now the club who are in pole position to end Walcott’s 10-year stay at the Emirates, according to the Sun. The Hammers are willing to meet Arsenal’s £20 million valuation of Walcott, and according to the report, are confident of wrapping up the deal by the end of this month. The Gunners, for their part, are also keen to get Walcott off the books and reportedly do not have a problem in doing business with their London rivals.
West Ham are looking to revamp their squad and bring in some star names as they gear up for their first season at the Olympic Stadium. With the likes of even Zlatan Ibrahimovic and John Terry being linked with the Hammers, next season could see them become genuine top four contenders.