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Arsenal enter race for out-of-contract EPL star

Arsenal enter the race for Premier League star as a replacement for the departing Granit Xhaka

May 22, 2023 By Ali M.
With Granit Xhaka expected to leave at the end of this season, Arteta is in need of a replacement and is pushing for one of the best midfielders in the league.

Arsenal are gearing up for a busy summer transfer window in which they will undergo a midfield overhaul. The Gunners were already in need of midfield reinforcements, but with Granit Xhaka expected to leave the Emirates Stadium this summer, the North London giants will enter the market for a replacement.

The Swiss midfielder is said to be headed to Bayer Leverkusen and when asked about his future following the 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest, the result that handed Man City the Premier League title, the midfielder all but confirmed his inevitable departure.

"You will know the latest next week, for sure," Xhaka told Standard Sport.

"I think they (the fans) deserve that and I do myself as well. We have one more week of this Premier League season, the first thing is I want to enjoy [it] and, for sure, you guys will know next week what happens with my future."

As a result, the Emirates Stadium showdown with Wolves, the Gunners' last game of the season, could be Xhaka's final game in an Arsenal shirt. This means that the English giants will have to dip into the market to replace him.

Declan Rice is already a target but according to the Athletic, Arteta wants his team to push for a separate midfielder to replace the departing Granit. That man is none other than Manchester City superstar Ilkay Gundogan.

One thing should be noted: Arteta's interest in Gundogan is separate from their Declan Rice pursuit. The West Ham ace is their no.1 priority while the German sensation would be an additional target once Xhaka leaves. The 32-year-old, who is the Cityzens captain, will be a free agent this summer as his contract will run out but this does not mean Arsenal will have a free run at the five-time Premier League winner.

Manchester City wish to keep ahold of Gundogan while the former Dortmund midfielder is also being pursued by Barcelona. The contract Guardiola's side offer Ilkay could play a key role in whether he leaves the Etihad Stadium or not, but were he to depart, it remains unclear whether he would accept a move to a direct rival over the iconic Barcelona.

Nonetheless, should Arsenal pull this off, it would be another coup for the Gunners. Gundogan, while on the wrong side of 30, is one of the best midfielders in the world and would add tremendous quality, experience, and leadership for free.

And Ilkay isn't the only midfielder at a Premier League rival garnering interest from Arsenal. Declan Rice is priority no.1 but Edu and Co. are also keeping an eye on Mason Mount in a bid to add more creativity to their rank. The Englishman is entering the final year of his Chelsea contract and could thus be sold should he fail to agree to new terms, hence the exit rumors.

Moises Caicedo, Mohammed Kudus, and Martín Zubimendi are also other targets. Who the Premier League runners up will sign remains a mystery but one thing is certain: the club will have a busy summer ahead of them.

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