Granit Xhaka is ready to join Jurgen Klinsmann at Hertha Berlin, according to his agent.
Now will Arsenal and new boss Mikel Arteta let the captain leave North London?
A report from Sky Sports quotes Xhaka’s agent Jose Noguera in saying that it’s all about the transfer fee.
Arsenal paid Borussia Monchengladbach $46 million for the Swiss midfielder, and wants to get that money back. Hertha signed the largest investment deal in German history earlier this summer and can invest. The Bundesliga outfit may view the fee a bit high for the 27-year-old want-away.
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Xhaka has become a scapegoat at Arsenal for some high profile mistakes and a higher profile outburst toward booing supporters, but his value remains significant in Europe. Arteta has also spoken highly of the player and wanted Man City to buy him while an assistant at the Etihad.
Xhaka was close to his best on Boxing Day versus Bournemouth, and Arsenal doesn’t currently have a midfielder with his combination of power and skill. He’s an excellent passer with a rocket shot and a readiness to tackle, but he loses concentration and can lack discipline. Newcastle was linked with loan interest.
“Look, I say it frankly and honestly: we agree with Hertha BSC and would like to go to Berlin. We told Arsenal’s club boss Raul Sanllehi and sports director Edu as well as the new trainer Mikel Arteta. … Arsenal was informed about all the steps, the player and Hertha are clear. It is only about the transfer fee of the clubs.”
Hertha lost its first match under Klinsmann 2-1 to Borussia Dortmund, but has since won twice and drawn twice despite playing four teams from the top eight (The fifth team is Europa League contestant Eintracht Frankfurt).
Xhaka was one of the Bundesliga’s best midfielders, bar none, before he left for Arsenal. If Hertha can agree a fee and Klinsmann can recapture that form — We’ve seen what he did with Xhaka lite in Jermaine Jones — then this is a worthwhile risk.