Roma's pursuit of Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has been the worst kept secret of the summer transfer season. While Xhaka and Roma reportedly settled on personnel terms weeks ago, that agreement hasn't greased the wheels for an actual transfer yet. Perhaps it's just part and parcel of doing business with English clubs, but Roma seemingly always hit stumbling blocks in their pursuits of Premiership veterans; see the protracted negotiations for Edin Dzeko several years ago or Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan over the past 18 months.
Nevertheless, with Xhaka desperate to work with José Mourinho at the Stadio Olimpico this season, the Swiss midfielder's arrival in Italy feels more like a question of when rather than if. According to the Corriere dello Sport, Xhaka's delayed arrival in Roma boils down to one simple matter: money.
Arsenal is reportedly unwilling to budge from their €20 million demands for the 28-year-old midfielder; a price Roma has been unwilling to meet so far, though the CdS speculates a deal could be reached with some sort of deferred payment schedule.
In the meantime, according to the CdS, Pinto will continue to focus on player sales in an effort to trim the roster and raise capital for the club's remaining transfer targets: Xhaka, a left-back to cover for Leonardo Spinazzola (a list that includes Manchester United's Alex Telles, Borussia Monchengladbach's Ramy Bensebaini, and Matias Viña of Palmeiras), and a winger to replace Justin Kluivert and/or Pedro, rumored to be Eintracht Frankfurt's Filip Kostic.
With little more than a month before the 2021-2022 season begins, Tiago Pinto has his work cut out for him. Wrapping up those three remaining deals while finding homes for players like Javier Pastore, Robin Olsen, Kluivert and Pedro is no small task—so spare a thought for Pinto while you're sitting on the deck sipping on your adult seltzer of choice