Transfer update: Messi close to decision as Arsenal eye Neves
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Granit Xhaka’s transfer to Roma is stalling due to Arsenal’s struggles with bringing in an adequate replacement. The Switzerland international has looked set to depart the Emirates Stadium for much of the summer window.
But the move appears to be more complicated than it was first anticipated, with the Gunners refusing to sanction a deal until a new defensive midfielder is brought in.
Xhaka had been a regular under Mikel Arteta last season, missing only seven Premier League games across the campaign.
He was one of the most consistent performers in Arteta’s squad and was even called on to deputise for Kieran Tierney at left-back.
Despite appearing to have become a key part of Arteta’s plans, Xhaka is now ready to leave the Gunners.
The Italian capital has long been seen as Xhaka’s most likely destination, with new Roma boss Jose Mourinho keen on the 28-year-old.
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His price has seemingly gone up since the conclusion of Switzerland’s participation in Euro 2020, with Xhaka starring for his country at the tournament.
The price is the main cause of tension between Arsenal and Roma, with the Serie A side unwilling to meet the Gunners’ valuation of the midfielder.
The Premier League side are resistant to the idea of selling Xhaka for less than that asking price, but another complication has arisen.
According to Calciomercato, that complication is Arsenal’s search for a replacement in their squad for Xhaka.
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The Gunners’ struggles means that they are holding out on giving the green light to Xhaka’s move to Italy.
The report also claims that there is a “financial distance” of just more than £2.5million to close between the two clubs.
This leaves Xhaka in limbo, with Calciomercato stating he has already “long promised” Mourinho that he would be joining him at Roma.
In a boost to the Swiss star’s hopes of ending his stay in the Premier League, Arsenal are closing in on the signing of Albert Sambi Lokonga.
Reports in Belgium last week stated that he is expected to join the Gunners after agreeing terms on a five-year contract.
It is also believed that he was left out of Anderlecht’s squad for their pre-season trip to the Netherlands ahead of the move.
Arsenal are currently in Scotland for a pre-season training camp, but it was thought that Lokonga could link up with them following his medical.
Signing Lokonga could see the green light finally given to Xhaka’s departure, with the Swiss hoping the deal for the 21-year-old can be wrapped up soon.
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