Bengaluru, June 19: Atletico Madrid are targeting Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka as part of their summer overhaul and as a potential replacement for Rodri, according to reports.
The Spanish side have already lost some of their key players including Godin and Lucas Hernandez to other sides and the latest rumour is that they will also part ways with midfielder Rordi following potential interest from Manchester City.
But the Spanish giants are wasting no time in finding a potential replacement for the 23-year-old and have reportedly lined up two options as his replacement with Real Madrid's Marcos Llorente and Arsenal's Xhaka as prime choices.
Atletico are believed to be close to signing Llorente, however, they are only willing to offer €40M for the Spaniard's signature, while Real Madrid are after €50M for him. And, now as per numerous reports, Simeone has lined up Xhaka as an alternative signing in case they fail to bring in Llorente from their local rivals.
The role of Atleti sporting director Andrea Berta is said to be the key in this chase. The Italian director reportedly has tracked the central midfielder's progress since his days in the Bundesliga and is said to be a fan of the Swiss captain.
Xhaka has always split opinion among Arsenal fans but has played 134 times for the Gunners, helping the club win one FA Cup in that time frame as well and last season was widely regarded as his best.
The Spanish club are scouting the market for a tough tackling anchorman and believe Xhaka can be the perfect man to fill up the gap who can be lured with their new project as well as bonus attraction of Champions League football.
The English club, however, reportedly have no intention of selling the Switzerland star given manager Unai Emery considers the midfielder one of his key players but apparently, that will not stop Atletico mounting a push for the 26-year-old, who has four years left on his contract with the Gunners.
Arsenal have a somewhat restricted squad, and selling Xhaka would only indicate that the Gunners have to dip into the transfer market this summer in order to replace him.
However, it would be worth selling the player should Los Rojiblancos come in with a strong offer for the 26-year-old. Signed from Borussia Moenchengladbach for £35m in 2016, he is now valued at much more than that by Arsenal and the Gunners could use the funds to strengthen the other key areas of the squad, most notably in defence.