Granit Xhaka has fueled speculations about his potential switch to Roma amid Jose Mourinho’s growing interest in the Arsenal midfielder’s services. Currently away on international duty with Switzerland, the 28-year-old star has spoken fondly of the Portuguese manager.
Xhaka has emerged as one of Mourinho’s top targets for the upcoming transfer window, with the ex-Tottenham boss reportedly looking to make the Swiss midfielder his first purchase at the Stadio Olimpico. The former Borussia Monchengladbach has now reflected on recent rumors linking him with a Serie A move.
“Of course, I read the rumors too,” Xhaka told Blick. “But now I’m one hundred percent focused on the national team. That’s more important than Arsenal or rumors right now.
“I still have a two-year contract in London. And at Arsenal, they know what they got in me. When the time comes and we can, may, or have to talk about a transfer, I’ll be here.
“Honestly: I didn’t hear what Mourinho said. But that makes you proud. Everyone knows Mourinho, knows what he has achieved. Mourinho knows how to win titles. You can now see what work I have done over the past few years.“
Xhaka had a falling out with former Arsenal boss Unai Emery, which nearly cut short his adventure in London back in the first half of the 2019/20 season. After an incident during a 2-2 home draw with Crystal Palace in October 2019, the Swiss star’s hiatus from the starting XI indicated he could leave the Emirates in the winter transfer window.
Emery’s sacking in favor of Mikel Arteta has turned the situation around, with Xhaka returning to be one of the protagonists in North London again. However, despite being one of the Gunners’ stalwarts in 2020/21, the left-footed metronome could be counting his final days in the capital.
Xhaka has blown hot and cold this season as Arsenal finished the Premier League campaign in a disappointing eight spot, meaning they will not play in Europe for the first time in the 21st century. Arteta’s team is expected to undergo massive changes this summer as the Spaniard looks to strengthen his squad in a bid to get the club challenging higher up the table next season.
One of the players that could pay the price for underwhelming displays is Xhaka. The Switzerland international has two years left on his contract, and Arsenal could be looking to cash in on his departure in the coming months.
According to Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport, Roma’s initial £11.2million offer was knocked back by the Gunners as they look for around £17.2m to sanction their utility man’s move. Given the current state of the market, it seems like a reasonable price, well within Giallorossi’s reach.