Once the footballing world caught wind of Granit Xhaka's desire to leave London, Roma was pretty much the first and only club linked with Xhaka. The 28-year-old Swiss maestro may be an ideal midfielder for José Mourinho, but thanks to his Euro 2020 commitments and the general vagaries of the transfer market, Xhaka's dream move to Roma has been on the backburner for almost two months now. With no other legitimate suitors springing up, it's been a zero-sum game for Xhaka: It's either Roma or nothing.
Despite Xhaka only having eyes for the Eternal City, the actual nuts and bolts of this deal have been lost in the proverbial junk drawer. Just yesterday, we passed along word that Arsenal's insistence on netting €20 million was holding up the deal, and while they may still be true, the Gunners suddenly have a bit more motivation to sell Xhaka.
Earlier today, Arsenal officially unveiled Albert Sambi Lokonga as their newest signing of the summer, inking the 21-year-old Belgian midfielder on an £18M transfer from Anderlecht. Of course, with one new defensive midfielder joining the crew at the Emirates, it would stand to reason that an older, slightly blonder defensive midfielder should head in the opposite direction.
And according to Sky Sport, that's precisely what will happen:
Arsenal confirm the signing of midfielder Albert Sambi #Lokonga (€22M add ons included, contract till 2026).— Angelo Mangiante (@angelomangiante) July 19, 2021
Xhaka in a few days will sign with #AsRoma where Mourinho is waiting for him. @SkySport #Transfers
While they don't speculate on the final cost, Sky reports that Lokonga's arrival in London will pave the way for Xhaka to finally link up with Mourinho in Rome, with the two clubs possibly concluding the deal this week.
We'll keep tabs on this story as it continues to develop, but after last week's capture of Rui Patricio, it seems like Mourinho won't have to wait long to unwrap his next present.