AS Roma are reportedly prepared to ‘re-open channel’ over a move for Granit Xhaka after failing to sign the Arsenal midfielder in the summer.
According to the print edition of Italian publication Corriere dello Sport, as relayed by Sport Witness, AS Roma are prepared to open talks with Arsenal to discuss a move for Granit Xhaka. The Swiss midfielder was expected to move and join Jose Mourinho’s side in the summer, with a deal collapsing over fee agreement.
Granit Xhaka’s departure from Arsenal looked imminent in the summer transfer window. Roma were the only club showing acute interest as Jose Mourinho earmarked the Swiss midfielder to improve his side for the season. The Serie A giants were deep in discussions with Edu Gaspar, who refused to budge on the asking price.
Roma hoped to get the midfielder on the cheap, but Edu stood his ground over Arsenal’s demands as talks dragged on. Eventually, the Gunners ceded pursuit of a replacement to announce a stay for Xhaka, who also signed a new deal at the Emirates.
Since he signed the deal, Xhaka has endured a difficult time. An early three-game suspension was followed by a medial ligament knee injury, which has kept him out for several weeks. The Swiss star is only expected to return sometime in January.
Now, AS Roma are prepared to re-open talks with Arsenal to possibly rekindle the pursuit of the player they missed out on in the summer. Jose Mourinho is still keen on Xhaka, who he thinks will massively improve his midfield options after enduring problems in the area over recent weeks.
Roma would like to sit at the table and discuss new terms with Arsenal, who may now demand a higher fee owing to the new deal signed by Xhaka. What the Gunners might ask for the midfielder remains the big question as we approach January, although it is unlikely the north London side will let him leave.
In recent weeks, Roma and Arsenal have been linked with Denis Zakaria, who is understandably in the same mould of his compatriot. However, the Borussia Monchengladbach star has plenty of more exciting offers; for instance, he might prefer a move to Barcelona next summer, which is far more enticing a destination than Roma.
Zakaria is also attracting the interest of the Manchester clubs and Liverpool, and he is likely to choose those options over even mulling a move to Mourinho’s side. Xhaka is considered more of an alternative by the Serie A giants in those circumstances, although they will find it difficult to convince Arsenal to sell him in January.
The Gunners will lose Thomas Partey in January due to the Africa Cup of Nations, leaving Xhaka as the only senior midfielder in the side. With the Swiss midfielder expected to be back around that time, Mikel Arteta is unlikely to let one of his trusted leaders leave midway through the season.
From an outside perspective, it is a chase that will likely end in disappointment for Roma. Xhaka is settled at the Emirates, and despite the team’s good performances in his absence, Arteta will depend on his experience and expertise when the former Arsenal captain returns to action.
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