As per a report from the Mirror, Arsenal are ready to offer up out-of-favour midfielder Granit Xhaka as part of a potential exchange deal for Borussia Monchengladbach star Denis Zakaria.
Xhaka stripped of captaincy
The controversy surrounding now-former Gunners captain Xhaka has been one of the talking points of European football for several weeks now.
This stems from an incident during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace late last month.
With the scoreline at 2-2, and an hour on the clock, Unai Emery opted to replace Xhaka with Bukayo Saka, in search of a greater attacking presence.
Xhaka’s number flashing across the 4th official’s board was quickly met by a chorus of sarcastic cheers, followed by heavy booing, on the part of the home crowd.
And the Swiss midfielder, clearly aggravated by both the scoreline and Arsenal’s supporters, subsequently allowed his emotions to get the better of him:
This feels like a landmark moment for Xhaka and #afc fans. His substitution is greeted by cheers, he’s then booed as he walks off (instead of running with the score at 2-2). He then cups his ear to the crowd, shouts “f*** off”, takes his shirt off and walks down the tunnel.
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) October 27, 2019
This quickly resulted in unrest amongst the fanbase of the north Londoners, amid widespread calls for Xhaka to be stripped of the club’s captaincy.
As such, it came as little surprise when Unai Emery opted to do exactly that.
Ahead of Arsenal’s meeting with Vitoria SC last week, it was confirmed that Aubameyang had replaced Xhaka as club captain:
Aubameyang is now club captain https://t.co/clBV4cRsPh
— James Benge (@jamesbenge) November 5, 2019
Xhaka out, Zakaria in?
The 27-year-old has since not featured in any of Arsenal’s last 4 fixtures across all competitions.
As such, murmurs that Xhaka could be on the move upon the opening of the January transfer window are beginning to grow louder.
And, as per the aforementioned report from the Mirror, the Gunners could attempt to use their out-of-favour midfielder as part of a swap deal, to secure the arrival of another midfielder.
The player in question is Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria.
Holding midfielder Zakaria has enjoyed a superb campaign to this point, playing a key role in Monchengladbach’s surprise surge to the top of the Bundesliga table.
Arsenal, though, could reportedly offer up international teammate Xhaka in January, to secure first refusal on Zakaria for next summer.