Roma Jose Mourinho is closing in on his main transfer target – with a £17m deal for Arsenal ’s Granit Xhaka reportedly on the verge of completion.
The Swiss midfielder, 28, has been on Mourinho’s summer wish list ever since he was announced as Roma’s new head coach back in May.
The Portuguese boss knows Xhaka well from his time in the Premier League – and he looks to have persuaded the Gunners’ midfielder to follow him in making the switch to Italy.
Arsenal will sanction the departure of their former captain to enable them to get on with their own squad rebuild.
The deal has been mooted all summer but now, according to Calciomercato, the long-running saga is finally nearing completion after Roma agreed to meet Arsenal’s £17m asking price.
Xhaka starred for Switzerland in the Euros, including during the stunning victory over France, before they were dumped from the tournament in a heart-wrenching shootout defeat to Spain.
Roma were keen to get the deal wrapped up before the competition began but were unwilling to budge financially – until now.
The deal for Xhaka will be the second time that Mourinho has returned to raid the Premier League since his arrival in Italy.
A deal for former Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio was sealed just last week, with Roma paying a fee of £9.8m to bring the Portuguese stopper to Rome after a three-year spell at Molineux.
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Xhaka has often divided opinions during his five-year stay in North London.
He was stripped of the Gunners’ captaincy by former boss Unai Emery and was infamously jeered off by supporters during a Premier League fixture with Crystal Palace back in 2019.
The midfield maestro fought back to feature more prominently under Mikel Arteta and win fans over, but it now appears the Swiss captain’s departure from the Emirates is imminent.
The move should be confirmed just days after Arsenal completed a £17m deal for 21-year-old Belgian midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga.
The Gunners are believed to be in the market for further midfield reinforcements, with Lokonga not expected to be first choice alongside Thomas Partey this season.
A £50m deal for Brighton’s England defender Ben White is also nearing completion, with Arteta set to oversee a summer spending spree.
The Gunners boss is a known admirer of Leicester City’s James Maddison, with Arteta keen to get another attacking midfielder in to compete alongside Emile Smith Rowe, who on Thursday penned fresh terms at the Emirates.
Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar is another name known to be of interest as Arsenal look to shape up a squad that finished in a disappointing eighth place last term.
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