Granite Xhaka's redemption story at Arsenal may be coming to an end. Photo: Getty Images/Stuart MacFarlane
Granit Xhaka The likelihood of him leaving Arsenal this summer is rising amid strong interest from Bayer Leverkusen.
Arsenal are in preliminary talks with the German party about a deal that could be worth around £13m.
The 30-year-old has just one year left on his current contract with Arsenal and there is no expectation that the club will be looking to extend it. However, there is the option of an extra year to help protect the midfielder's transfer fee this summer.
With Leverkusen offering a lucrative long-term deal, Xhaka is considered likely to return to Germany, where he previously played for Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Xhaka signed for Arsenal in the summer of 2016 and has been an almost constant presence in the team for a tumultuous seven years, during which he was stripped of the captaincy and energized by the club's supporters.
However, in recent seasons he has managed to regain these relations with Arsenal supporters and this year he has been consistently at the top of his game in English football.
Xhaka has scored seven goals in all competitions this season, making it the highest scoring year of his career as he excelled in a more advanced midfield role under Mikel Arteta.
Leverkusen is currently managed by former Liverpool and Real Madrid. Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso, who has been a close friend of Arteta since childhood. Meanwhile, Arsenal are among the clubs interested in signing 23-year-old Leverkusen striker Moussa Diaby this summer.
Xhaka's expected departure will help create space at Arsenal as Arteta and sporting director Edu target at least one central midfielder, if not two, in the summer transfer window.
Xhaka had his best season in the Arsenal shirt. Photo: Reuters/David Klein. United captain Declan Rice, who could be worth more than £80m, is also interested in Brighton's Moises Caicedo and Chelsea's Mason Mount.
Meanwhile, Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun changed his international allegiance from England to the United States. As such, the 21-year-old will not represent England at the European Under-21 Championship this summer.
Balogun, 21, was born in the United States and has represented the country at international youth level as well as playing for England junior teams. He had a successful loan spell this season in France, where he scored 19 goals for Ligue 1 side Reims.
Balogun's path to regular football with Arsenal's first team is likely to be blocked by the likes of like Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah, which means it will also be sold this summer.
Against all odds, Granit Xhaka managed to reinvent himself this season. For such a long time he was a defensive midfielder with one pace, and last year he showed that he can be a truly effective and creative box-to-box player.
Telegraph Sport analysis Xhaka's performances won fans over. is over, but Arsenal can upgrade
Few expected this and a testament to Xhaka's resilience and adaptability is that he weathered the worst storms in north London and ended up becoming a better, more accomplished footballer. This season was the best for him in history: at the moment he has scored seven goals in 45 matches.
Then Xhaka showed that he can change himself, but, unfortunately, he cannot change the laws of time. Arsenal are looking to move in a new direction in midfield this summer and Xhaka, 30, no longer represents the future of the club.
Arsenal need fresh energy, new ideas and stronger legs – West Ham United's Declan Rice is at the top of their target list – and with no new contract expected, it looks like it's time for Xhaka and the club to part ways. ways.
Is this another example of Arteta's ruthlessness? Perhaps, but it should also be said that a long-term contract with Bayer Leverkusen will suit Xhaka and his young family as he approaches the next chapter of his career.
Arsenal fans will have mixed feelings. if Xhaka says goodbye in the coming weeks. The club will also have mixed feelings. Xhaka is a hugely influential figure in the dressing room and one of the team's natural leaders, but he is also hot-tempered and strong-willed, sometimes to his own detriment.
No doubt his departure would have left a hole in terms of leadership and experience. In midfield, he is also very popular, because this season he started in all but two Premier League matches. Arsenal will need to replace him and revamp him and they obviously think now is the right time to do so.