Transfer target at the top of Steve Bruce's Newcastle United wishlist opens door to January exit

Newcastle United transfer target Granit Xhaka wants showdown talks with Arsenal before his January fate is decided.

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 7:45 pm
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27: Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka before the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on October 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

The former Gunners captain has been frozen out of the first-team picture at the Emirates by boss Unai Emery after an angry confrontation with fans in which he appeared to swear as he left the field following his substitution against Crystal Palace recently.

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Xhaka, who has been away on international duty with Switzerland, has since also been stripped of the Arsenal armband.

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This has alerted a number of clubs to his availability in the winter window – and Steve Bruce is understood to be a massive fan of the ball-playing midfielder.

Xhaka has revealed he wants things cleared up before any decision is taken on his future, with the 27-year-old almost certain to be shown the door.

“I have a clear idea as to how things should proceed, and Arsenal know this as well,” said Xhaka.

“Although I still have a contract with them, I will be glad to return to the club - so we can finally sort matters out.

“There will surely be a solution - as I can't accept what has happened with me.”

United’s hopes of signing Xhaka rely largely on Arsenal’s willingness to loan him out.

Bruce – who is looking to strengthen his midfield in January’s transfer window – is interested in signing Xhaka, who hasn’t played for his club since late last month.

Newcastle face competition from abroad, notably AC Milan. However, there’s a belief that Arsenal yet could be prepared to loan out the player – who plays for Switzerland alongside United defender Fabian Schar – in the New Year. It is hoped that Schar could persuade Xhaka to move to Tyneside.

The other issue is Xhaka’s £5m-plus salary, which would break the wage structure at St James’s Park.

Xhaka has spent three years at Arsenal, having cost them around £35million in the summer of 2016.

He started his career at Basel, before making more than 100 appearances for Borussia Mönchengladbach between 2012-2016.