Arsenal star Granit Xhaka looked like he would end up at AS Roma last month, but the Swiss international stayed, and Tiago Pinto, the Giallorossi’s sporting director, has explained the reasons behind the failed transfer.
Rumours about Xhaka and Roma flooded the newspapers even before the Euros started. It looked almost certain that the midfielder would join forces with Jose Mourinho in the Italian capital, but it proved to be a lot more complicated than we first thought.
After weeks and weeks of negotiations, reports led us to believe that Roma couldn’t match our asking price for Xhaka. As a result, we ended talks with them and decided to extend the Swiss international’s contract, thus ending all the speculation surrounding his future.
Roma director: I regret not signing Granit Xhaka
Pinto was asked about his pursuit of Xhaka throughout the summer. The Giallorossi’s director ignored the financial side of the deal and claimed outright that Arsenal didn’t want to let him go.
He said in a press conference, as per Chiesa di Totti: “The issue is not the budget: we need to be aware that what we have invested in this transfer window is more than Dan and Ryan [Roma’s owners] had initially imagined.
“The market is dynamic and, in crucial moments, we had the desire to do something to accelerate the rebuilding process here. All of you know about the interest we had in [Granit] Xhaka, which in the end we didn’t manage to do because other things happened.
“As I’ve said already, the transfer window is always in flux. When we weren’t able to sign Xhaka… he wanted to leave Arsenal but at that moment, they did not want to sell him. That was a regret.”
If Arsenal had sold Xhaka to Roma, we would’ve had to fork out something around £30 million or £40 million to sign a top-quality replacement. Arteta and Edu had a decision to make, and they felt that keeping hold of the Swiss skipper made more sense.
Although his recent red card has infuriated some fans, we can’t ignore his importance to our squad. The midfielder, labelled as ‘phenomenal by Arteta, will now miss three games, which is a big blow, but hopefully, he responds positively when he returns in a few weeks time.