Arsenal are preparing to offer Granit Xhaka, who had looked to be heading for the Emirates Stadium exit door, a new contract.
The 28-year-old had been tipped to join Jose Mourinho at Roma this season, ending a tumultuous five-year spell in north London that has seen the Switzerland international swing between fan favourite and pantomime villain.
But Roma’s interest appears to have waned and a suitable bid has not been forthcoming. That, reported by The Athletic, could lead to fresh terms for Xhaka at Arsenal, prolonging his stay at the club and potentially ending the pursuit of other midfield targets.
Arsenal had been eyeing moves for Wolves’ Ruben Neves, Brighton’s Yves Bissouma and Lyon’s Bruno Guimaraes among others, but those plans may now be shelved if Xhaka does end up staying at the club.
Albert Sambi Lokonga has already joined from Anderlecht, joining Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny as Mikel Arteta’s anchor options, while Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Lucas Torreira remain on Arsenal’s books – though all of their long-term futures remain unclear.
Manuel Locatelli is another player who has been linked with Arsenal, but the Italian – who impressed for his country during their successful Euro 2020 campaign – is likely to join Juventus, now back under the management of serial winner and former boss Massimiliano Allegri.
Xhaka staying put shouldn’t have any affect on Arsenal’s desire to sign more creative, forward thinking midfielders. Leicester’s James Maddison fits that profile, while interest remains in Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard – he spent the second half of last season on loan at Arsenal.
The Gunners are also closing in on Brighton’s Ben White. The 23-year-old has been undergoing a medical ahead of a £50m move, and he’ll be tasked with adding stability to an Arsenal defence in desperate need of freshening up.