Arsenal have made their first significant move ahead of the summer transfer window after launching a formal offer for Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka, reports The Mirror.
The bid is believed to be worth £24million – enough to make him the third biggest signing in Arsenal's history – but Monchengladbach are thought to be holding out for around £32m.
While they may be some way apart in their valuations of Xhaka, the Gunners are confident of getting a deal agreed. Their early bid is a signal of their intent to get this deal done before the midfielder joins the Swiss national team for Euro 2016 in May.
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Switzerland face a friendly with Belgium on the 28th May in their last warm-up before the competition gets underway in France. Xhaka is likely to be a key player for the Swiss and all transfer talks would likely be put on hold.
But Arsene Wenger seems determined to get his business done as early as possible and the bid made by him is a huge signal of intent in what has been a disappointing season at the Emirates Stadium.
Statement of intent
Even at £24m, Xhaka would become Arsenal's third most expensive signing, only trailing the £35m paid for Alexis Sanchez in 2014 and the £42.4m paid for Mesut Ozil a year earlier. Currently, Arsenal's third biggest signing is Danny Welbeck, who cost the club £16m to sign from Manchester United in 2014.
It would bring relief to plenty of Arsenal fans who saw Wenger refuse to spend a single penny on a senior outfield player in the previous transfer window. It was that decision that many have attributed to their failure to win the Premier League this season.
If he signs, Xhaka, 23, will be the first arrival in a new look Arsenal midfield next season. Mathieu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta are all set to leave when their contracts expire in the summer and Wenger is believed to be considering one more midfield signing.
Gedion Zelalem is also likely to get his chance to earn his first-team place after an impressive season loan at Rangers while there is also hope that Jack Wilshere can re-establish himself after another campaign lost to injury.
Mohamed Elneny has been impressive since arriving in January while Santi Cazorla's long-awaited return from a knee injury should see him back alongside Francis Coquelin. With Aaron Ramsey also vying for a place, Arsenal's central midfield should be packed with talent next season.