Stoke City were close to signing €45m-rated Arsenal star on loan deal

Granit Xhaka came close to joining Stoke City on loan before eventually signing for the London club, according to Borussia Monchengladbach director of sport Max Eberl. The 26-year-old midfielder joined Arsenal in a £35m deal in 2016 after four years with the Bundesliga club.

Following a transfer from Basel in 2012, the midfielder went on to play over 140 matches for the German club before securing a move to the Premier League. However, Granit had a difficult start to his spell with Gladbach and was reportedly considering a loan move to Stoke City in winter 2014 in a bid to get his career back on track.

However, Eberl said that he talked Xhaka out of a move to Stoke, telling him it would be better for his career to stay put. Switzerland international managed to turn things around and was rewarded with a switch to the London club just over two years later, where he initially linked up with Arsene Wenger.

Since then, Swiss midfielder has gone on to make 135 appearances for Arsenal and has become a regular member of Unai Emery’s starting XI. He played 40 games in all tournaments during the Spaniard’s first campaign in charge and was named as one of the Gunners five captains.

The midfielder has just started his fourth campaign in the Premier League and is looking to help the London club improve on the previous season, which saw them finish fifth in the league and lose the final of the Europa League. Xhaka is a regular member of the national team line-up and also played in the 2018 World Cup playoff.