Arsenal may well be set to lose a fan favourite or two this summer, but they are wasting no time in sorting out a replacement.
That's according to the Portuguese outlet Record (via Sport Witness), which details Mikel Arteta and Edu Gaspar's interest in Feyenoord's outstanding skipper Orkun Kokcu.
The Turkish international has enjoyed a standout year in the engine room of the title winners, having ended Ajax's Eredivisie monopoly in sensational fashion. His midfield exploits have proven key, unsurprisingly attracting interest from some European heavyweights.
Whilst the €40m (£35m) price tag is said to have put off Benfica, the Gunners remain in the race alongside Liverpool and Sevilla.
Given Granit Xhaka seems to be inching closer to an exit, this could represent a fine piece of business, to bid farewell to an ageing star in favour of one with a sparkling future ahead.
The Swiss international has earned such widespread praise for his somewhat surprisingly creative role this term, and this adulation could be easily translated onto their new potential midfield general, who too boasts just as much pedigree in front of goal as he does at dictating the play.
Xhaka scored five and assisted seven in the league as his side narrowly missed out on top spot, whilst Kokcu instead boasts 12 goals and five assists in all competitions on his way to the title.
This potency is married with a tireless grit, as he wins possession back once and makes 1.1 tackles per game too, meriting his 7.47 average rating. It remains impossible to look past his astounding 2.7 key passes per game too alongside an 85% pass accuracy, further outlining his level as well above this division, via Sofascore.
For all his benefits, the departing 30-year-old simply cannot compete with these impressive figures. His 1.3 key passes per game feed into his admirable 7.01 average rating, yet it still remains nowhere near that of his possible successor, via Sofascore.
To further emphasise the gulf between them, whilst Arteta was praising Xhaka for being a "really important player" for the Gunners, Mohamed Sissoko has suggested that the 22-year-old is instead "the best in his league".
The former Juventus midfield would continue, likening him to some of the greatest midfielders of this generation: "(Luka) Modric. For me, (Kokcu) has the same quality of play. He has the potential to reach his level."
Such lofty flattery only reinforces Kokcu's position as an upgrade on their current engine room stalwart, who has admittedly done well to revive a career on north London that seemed dead and buried after his altercation with the fanbase many years ago.
However, his triumphant exit could be quickly forgotten, should Edu swoop to secure such a capable replacement with immediacy.2023-05-26T05:53:28Z dg43tfdfdgfd