Arsenal are keen to bolster their midfield ranks and remain interested in signing Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria.
The Gunners have been tracking the Swiss international for over two years, long before Mikel Arteta arrived at the Emirates Stadium to succeed Unai Emery as manager.
Zakaria is expected to finally hit the market this summer as he enters the final 12 months of his contract, and sources have confirmed to 90min that the 24-year-old has made his intention to leave the Bundesliga clear.
Arsenal are very much in the mix to secure his signing – even though they are facing up to the prospect of not playing European football for the first time in 25 years – and Zakaria is expected to come with a reasonable price tag because of the short amount of time left on his Gladbach deal.
The Gunners have a fairly limited transfer budget to play with, and are exploring creative ways to finance their summer business. They are open to a number of player-plus-cash swap deals, and in Zakaria’s case, the idea of sending Granit Xhaka in exchange has been discussed.
Xhaka is held in very high regard at Gladbach, with whom he spent four years between 2012 and 2016, and Arsenal are contemplating trying to capitalise on that by proposing a swap deal.
While Arteta is a big fan of Xhaka, who has featured both in midfield and as an emergency left-back, Zakaria is seen as an upgrade by many at the club and perhaps the perfect partner to Thomas Partey in the heart of midfield.
He is not the only midfielder under consideration, however. Brighton and Hove Albion’s Yves Bissouma is also on the club’s radar, but with Liverpool and Manchester City pursuing the Mali international as well, the Gunners are keen to have other options at their disposal.
In terms of this season, Zakaria has been in good touch and has made 30 appearances in all competitions for Gladbach, some of which have come as a centre-back. He has chipped in with a solitary goal and assist for Marco Rose’s side, but it’s his defensive acumen and ability on the ball that continues to catch the eye.