Transfer news around Arsenal's Emirates Stadium is starting to heat up ahead of the summer window. That may be because they don't have much else to think about but it may also be because Arsene Wenger is serious about spending money.
Much of the focus has been on Borussia Monchengladbach star Granit Xhaka, who few in England had heard of before the start of this season. But the Switzerland international has had a season to remember in the Bundesliga and has well and truly caught the eye of the Gunners boss.
According to the Mirror, Wenger has had his band of scouts watching over Xhaka for much of the season and have seen him in action 30 times already. If true, it indicates that Arsenal's interest in signing the midfielder is serious.
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With Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini all set to leave this summer, Wenger sees the midfield as ripe for investment. He recently signed Mohamed Elneny from FC Basel, who has impressed in his early career, but Wenger wants one more quality addition to sure up his options.
Cut in a similar mould to that of Elneny, Xhaka is the epitome of a powerhouse midfielder. 6ft 1in and built like a brick house, he would add something to Arsenal's midfield that it has chronically lacked since the days of Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva.
Xhaka certainly fits the bill but will not come cheap. The same report states that Arsenal will have to pay up to £30m to convince Monchengladbach to sell while a recent report in Bild put the asking price as high as £35m.
Arsenal have the money to meet that figure but whether Wenger is willing to is an entirely different matter. The Frenchman is frugal and has regularly opted to keep his money in his pocket than pay a premium price.
Indeed, Wenger famously failed to sign a single outfield player in the previous summer transfer window, only adding Petr Cech to a squad he deemed capable of winning the Premier League. He was wrong.
The same report says Real Madrid's Toni Kroos is also on the shortlist with Arsenal confident their strong ties with the Bernabeu club would give them a helping hand. Southampton star Victor Wanyama has long been a target.
However, Xhaka is the top target and Arsenal have already sounded out his representatives with regards to a move. Encouragingly, the player himself has also spoken of his dream to move to the Premier League.
"I think everybody has a dream," he told Sky Germany. "Everybody has a childhood dream and that's my childhood dream. If my dream comes true, it remains to be seen. At the moment I cannot say how realistic it is."
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