Arsenal retaining Granit Xhaka may have cost Mikel Arteta his chance to sign Denis Zakaria, as the Borussia Monchengladbach star is holding out for a transfer to Barcelona, per Sport.
Zakaria is growing increasingly distant from a future at Borussia-Park after he rejected Die Fohlen’s offer of a new contract. The Swiss midfielder has just eight-months remaining on his current terms with the Bundesliga outfit, so will be a free agent from next June.
He believes next year will be the right time to leave the German outfit he has called home since 2017. Zakaria also has eyes on Barcelona being his next destination, and is waiting for the Blaugrana to make their move.
Barcelona are looking to improve their midfield next year and the chance to sign Zakaria for free will certainly appeal. He fits their desired profile for the heart of the Camp Nou engine room, but face competition from Italy.
Juventus admire what Zakaria could offer in Turin, while Roma have also made the 24-year-old an offer. But he rejected the chance to join Jose Mourinho’s side to focus on Barcelona. A potential blow to Arsenal, as well, after they explored a transfer for Zakaria this summer.
That’s according to The Mirror, who reported in July that Arteta considered Zakaria the top option to replace Xhaka at Arsenal, as Roma sought a transfer for the Gunners’ Swiss ace. Now, the 29-year-old staying and signing a new contract could mean Zakaria is off limits.
Xhaka decision to deny Arsenal transfer for Zakaria amid Barcelona dreams
Zakaria could have been a superb addition to the Arsenal midfield had Arteta secured the Borussia Monchengladbach star’s services in the summer transfer window, but now risks missing out as the 24-year-old targets a switch to Barcelona at the end of his contract.
The 38-cap Swiss teammate of Xhaka would have offered Arteta an imposing presence in his engine room if signed. Zakaria offers a remarkable box-to-box impact in the Bundesliga to influence proceedings at both ends.
He can dominate duels and impact the scoreline, with two goals and an assist in five games this season. Zakaria’s latest goal marking the winner against Borussia Dortmund, before finding Breel Embolo to break the deadlock at Wolfsburg. While his passing finesse once drew comparisons with Real Madrid star Toni Kroos from German icon Lothar Matthaus.
“I’m glad that Gladbach have found another pearl,” he said, via Bundesliga.com. “At his age I was earning my first stripes for Borussia. He reminds me of Toni Kroos at that age.”