Arsenal wait for transfer request as unexpected option emerges to impact Rice and Xhaka deals

Matt Stead
Arsenal midfielder Jorginho reacts

Lazio target Jorginho could push to leave Arsenal this summer in a transfer which would impact the immediate futures of both Declan Rice and Granit Xhaka.

Arsenal have made Rice their priority transfer target this summer as they look to close the gap to Premier League champions Manchester City.

There is doubt as to whether they could afford a potential British record deal due to a debt of over £150m in previous owed transfer fees.

But an unlikely sale could boost their hopes of landing the West Ham midfielder, while potentially affecting the plans of Xhaka.

Despite joining the Gunners in January, former Chelsea man Jorginho may leave north London and the Premier League altogether for a reunion with Maurizio Sarri.

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Lazio are interested in the European champion for club and country, with Italian newspaper Gazzetta saying that while a move would be ‘difficult to implement’, a Serie A return for Jorginho is possible.

Sarri will inevitably push to sign a player he enjoyed great success alongside at Napoli and Chelsea, but any move would be dependent on Jorginho pursuing the chance to leave.

It is said that Arsenal would be ‘willing’ to sell Jorginho ‘if the player asks for it’ and they at least make their money back on the £12m they paid Chelsea in January.

The wishes of Jorginho will be key to ‘facilitate the negotiation’, as while Arsenal are happy to entertain the idea of offloading him and the player himself could welcome the chance to work with Sarri again in Italy, strengthening his case for international selection ahead of the 2024 Euros, it would inevitably take a pay cut to make the numbers work.

His current wage is ‘absolutely out of reach’ for Lazio, who would have to ‘convince him to accept a lower figure’ of around €2m less a year than his current earnings.

That problem could be offset by offering the 31-year-old a long-term contract and thus a guarantee for five or so years of a good wage.

Xhaka Arsenal

But any sale of Jorginho would likely influence Arsenal’s plans for Xhaka, who has a £13m move to Bayer Leverkusen lined up if Rice joins the Gunners.

Mikel Arteta would not sanction the departure of more midfielders than Arsenal sign this summer due to concerns over squad depth, meaning only one of Jorginho or Xhaka – both senior players whose experience would also need replacing – could be allowed to go.