It’s been a week since Granit Xhaka practically begged City to let him follow Pep Guardiola from Germany to Manchester, and news has emerged from BILD tonight that City have made an offer.
According to the report, City have or are in the process of making a €50m (£39m) bid for the Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder, and are attempting to fend off Pep’s current club Bayern Munich, who also like the 23-year-old. Xhaka was outstanding in Gladbach’s 3-1 win over Bayern in December, and the German champions have subsequently made a €40m offer, BILD say.
City have quickly moved to blow that bid out the water by guaranteeing a huge €50m fee for the Swiss international. Like with De Bruyne, who Bayern also wanted to sign, the financial power of City could prevail here. Assuming, that is, this story is true. BILD told us in January that a €55m bid for Leroy Sané was imminent, and we’re still waiting for that.
Xhaka, though, possesses many features of a typical Pep Guardiola midfielder, so it isn’t beyond reason that he could be part of a radical overhaul of our stale midfield. Xhaka averages 82.1 passes per game in the Bundesliga – that is 22.1 more than our most active passer, Yaya Touré, who is averaging 60.2 per game in the Premier League. Xhaka’s pass completion rate is 84.4%, a few per cent lower than Yaya. Pep loves a passer and Xhaka is one hell of a passer.
The tempo of the Premier League is increasing and the intense pressing game, which a few years ago was a novelty, is becoming more and more common. Pressing is part and parcel of the Bundesliga, so it is an realistic hunting ground – one Pep knows very well now – for new targets. Could Xhaka be one of them?
Check out ‘pass master’ Xhaka in action.