Tuesday 27 September 2016

Swiss star arrives in London as Arsenal move to seal the summer's first big Premier League transfer

Jeremy Wilson

Published 20/05/2016 | 20:10

MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - May 07: Granit Xhaka of Borussia Moenchengladbach controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen at Borussia-Park on May 07, 2016 in Moenchengladbach, Germany (Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images)
MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - May 07: Granit Xhaka of Borussia Moenchengladbach controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen at Borussia-Park on May 07, 2016 in Moenchengladbach, Germany (Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images)

Arsenal are poised to confirm their first signing of the summer, with Granit Xhaka at the club’s London Colney training base for a medical following a breakthrough in negotiations with Borussia Monchengladbach on a £30 million deal.

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Arsenal had initially bid close to £20 million for the Switzerland midfielder but, with Monchengladbach hoping to get more than £30 million, an agreement was eventually reached on a deal understood to be worth an initial £25 million but rising potentially to £30 million. Xhaka had a release clause in his contract for £23 million that would have become active next year.

The 23-year-old is keen on moving to the Premier League and personal terms on what would be a five-year contract that will be worth around £120,000-a-week are likely to be a formality.

With Arsenal eventually finishing second in the Premier League to guarantee their place in the Champions League group phase, Arsene Wenger has moved quickly in the transfer market ahead of the final season of his current contract.

Central midfield was always his priority following the departures of Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky, with Xhaka identified as the No 1 target ahead of Leicester City's N'golo Kante during the second half of last season. 

Xhaka was in London on Friday and the deal should be completed over the weekend and formally announced at some stage next week.

Described in 2012 by Ottmar Hitzfeld as a “young Bastian Schweinsteiger”, Xhaka already has 40 caps for Switzerland and, before his four seasons in Germany, also played for hometown club Basle.

Xhaka is a more defence-minded midfielder than Mohamed Elneny and would be competing either for Francis Coquelin’s place or could give Wenger the option of playing two holding midfielders for certain games.

Wenger is also still keen to add a centre-back and a striker this summer ahead of what could be his 21st and final season as Arsenal manager.

Telegraph.co.uk

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