Fabrizio Romano explains delay to MAJOR Arsenal transfer

Tom Weber
Tom Weber
  • Updated:
  • 3 min read
Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, 2022/23
© ProShots

Fabrizio Romano has explained why Granit Xhaka's move to Bayer Leverkusen is taking longer than expected.

The Swiss international agreed to a deal with the German outfit last month, but an official announcement has still not been made. Reports claim that Xhaka's wife is homesick and wants to move back to the Rhineland where she met the midfielder during his time with Borussia Monchengladbach.

After some tough years following his move to the Emirates, Xhaka has become an important part of Mikel Arteta's midfield and his departure will leave a pretty big hole in Arsenal's centre of the park. In fact, with Thomas Partey also potentially on the way out, the Gunners' midfield will look very different come next season.

READ: 'I want to win it all' - Rice makes ambitions clear as Arsenal prepare to launch bid

And this is precisely the reason behind the delay in the Xhaka announcement.

Granit Xhaka
© ProShots - Granit Xhaka

What did Romano say?

According to Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal are reluctant to assent to the move as long as they don't have a replacement lined up. "Understand the agreement between Granit Xhaka and Bayer Leverkusen is still valid, sealed and confirmed at this stage," the Italian transfer expert announced to his 15.3 million followers. "He accepted one month ago"

But "Arsenal will only give the green light once they sign [a] new midfielder, with Declan Rice as [the] priority target." This is what is causing the hold-up, but it may not be long before a deal will be announced.

As we have exclusively reported, Rice has already agreed personal terms with Arsenal and the Gunners are in pole position to land the West Ham captain, whose impending departure has been confirmed by Hammers chairman David Sullivan.

EXCLUSIVE: Edu under big pressure to complete Caicedo and Rice transfers

The bidding for Rice opened on Thursday now that West Ham's season is officially over. Arsenal have been preparing their offer for weeks and they will launch it soon; in fact, they may have already done so at the point of writing. Failure to get a deal over the line, however, could have serious consequences, our sources tell us.