Arsenal could pull off Xhaka swap with club ‘desperate’ to sign star | Football | Sport

Arsenal could pull off a player-plus-cash deal involving Granit Xhaka this summer. Reports claim Bayer Leverkusen are desperate to sign the Switzerland international but the Gunners may look to include Moussa Diaby as part of the deal after Newcastle cooled their interest.

Xhaka has enjoyed his best season in an Arsenal shirt. He has won over many of the club’s supporters following the public falling out in 2019 which saw him stripped of the captaincy.

He has thrived in a left-sided No 8 role under Mikel Arteta this term. But Arteta is keen to add up to two midfielders to his squad this summer, including West Ham captain Declan Rice.

That could leave Xhaka’s game time limited compared to this season and he may have a decision to make on his future. The Mirror says Bundesliga side Leverkusen are hopeful of putting an offer on the table to attract Xhaka.

But Arsenal could benefit from the deal if they can find a way of luring Diaby to the Emirates. The same report says Diaby remains a target for Arteta and that negotiations over a move for Xhaka could help their cause.

Arteta wants to strengthen in wide attacking positions. A right-winger is a priority to lessen the burden on Bukayo Saka, who has played 53 times for club and country this season, the majority as a starter.

Diaby is coming towards the end of his fourth season with Leverkusen. The France international has 49 goals and 48 assists in 167 career appearances for the club.

He started his career at Paris Saint-Germain and has been linked with a return to the Parc des Princes as a potential replacement for Lionel Messi. Newcastle have also been linked with the player but the latest reports from the Mail claim they are now focusing on other targets, which would leave a clearer path for the Gunners.

Diaby has previously been linked with a move to the Emirates but the addition of Champions League football in north London could prove to be a decisive factor. Leverkusen are unlikely to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition through their league position.

However, they face Roma in the semi-final of the Europa League this week. Victory in the final on May 27 would qualify Leverkusen for the Champions League.

Diaby still has two years remaining on his contract. But Arsenal could attempt to pull off a smart swap deal to fulfil one of Arteta’s summer demands.

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