Transfer windows at Arsenal are never plain sailing, but this one in particular is throwing up plenty of twists and turns.
In a summer of uncertainty one of the few things we could be sure of was that Granit Xhaka would be leaving North London to complete a move to Roma.
Now though the Swiss international looks set to say after Jose Mourinho’s side failed to meet the Gunners’ asking price and football.london understands that he is instead close to signing a contract extension to keep him at the Emirates for another four years.
The news has been greeted with a lukewarm response from the Arsenal fanbase who were hoping for new recruits in the middle of the park, but the shock u-turn could well turn out to be a blessing.
Thus far in the transfer market the Gunners have made three signings in Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Ben White, but there is no suggestion that they have any intention of stopping there.
Edu is on the lookout for a goalkeeper to provide back up for Bernd Leno, with Aaron Ramsdale and Sam Johnstone among the players to have been linked.
Arsenal are also in the market for a number 10 and centre forward.
While Martin Odegaard of Real Madrid would appear to be a primary target in the former role and Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham has been linked in the latter, two other players the Gunners have been linked with in the respective positions are Leicester’s James Maddison and Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan.
In the case of these two players it’s interesting to look at the type of move that have been touted.
football.london understands that a swap deal involving a number of the Gunners’ fringe players has been put to Leicester in an attempt to secure Maddison. Reports also suggest that a similar type of transfer is being talked about with Inter Milan for Martinez, with Hector Bellerin and Alexandre Lacazette among the players to have been linked with a move the other way.
The reason for this is the high transfer fees that both clubs have demanded for their players.
The Foxes are understood to want at least £60 million for Maddison, while Inter have reportedly placed an even higher price tag on Martinez’s head.
In an ideal world the swap deals proposed would help reduce the amount of cash Arsenal would have to commit to each transfer which will be a priority given the COVID-19 affected transfer market they are operating in.
However, reports have suggested that neither Leicester or Inter would be willing to accept such a deal, given their own respective financial situations.
This is where the U-turn over Xhaka could prove to be a saving grace.
While the Swiss international has had his critics, there can be no doubting that he played a key role in the squad last season. Had he left for Roma then he would have needed replacing.
Experienced midfielders who would be an upgrade on Xhaka do not come cheap, and the names linked – Yves Bissouma, Ruben Neves, and Manuel Locatelli to name but a few – would all likely have cost in the region of £30-40 million.
With the 28-year-old now set to stay Arsenal will instead have that money in the bank to help bolster their chances of securing deals for Maddison and Martinez.
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The transfer window is in full swing and things are beginning to ramp up with Edu and Mikel Arteta’s dealings at the Emirates.
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The Gunners have a lot they want to do this summer but only a finite amount of resources to get it done with, so any sort of financial boost will be welcome.
Of course football transfers are rarely this simple, and the various structuring of deals means that it won’t be as clear cut as just being able to reinvest all of the money they saved on Xhaka replacement into another of their moves this summer.
But with time running out in the transfer window, having one less deal to do may well move Arsenal closer to getting the other ones they want over the line.
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