Arsenal have told Granit Xhaka he can leave the club this summer after he backed away from contract talks, sources have confirmed to 90min.
90min recently reported that the midfielder had opted not continue talks over a new deal with the club, instead opting to assess his options elsewhere. Xhaka’s current at Arsenal is due to expire at the end of 2024, and the club had been keen to keep hold of the Swiss international having been impressed by his attitude both on and off the pitch throughout the 2022/23 season.
However, Arsenal have accepted Xhaka’s future now lies away from the Emirates Stadium and, as such, talks have taken place between the and Bayer Leverkusen over a deal worth in the region of €15m.
A host of Bundesliga clubs have shown an interest in Xhaka, including former club Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund, but sources have confirmed to 90min that a move to Leverkusen is the player’s preferred option.
Leverkusen are now pushing ahead to try and tie up a deal, with talks accelerating in recent days after the midfielder made his choice known to them.
Sources with knowledge of the situation have emphasised to 90min that the whole situation is ‘amicable’ and once Arsenal were aware that Xhaka saw his future elsewhere, they were happy to sanction a deal.
It is understood Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was keen to keep Xhaka at the club, appreciating the impact he has in the dressing room, but he has backed the club’s decision to allow the Swiss to leave. Arteta previously played a pivotal role in keeping Xhaka at Arsenal in 2019 – when he was set to quit the club, after being booed off the pitch by fans and was later stripped of the captaincy.
Xhaka insists Arteta was the only reason he stayed at Arsenal: “There was one guy [who wanted me to stay], his name is Mikel Arteta,” Xhaka said.
“I will always support him, it doesn’t matter what happens. Without him, I am 100 per cent sure I would not be in the club anymore.
“He knows that, I have a very good and honest relationship with him. It doesn’t matter what happens on the pitch, I will never ever be against him or say something against him. He deserves my respect, but the respect from my family as well. I was gone. I did not want to wear the shirt anymore. He gave me the feeling to do it again.”