Granit Xhaka reportedly agreed a deal with AS Roma ages ago but the two clubs have not been able to find an agreement, so are Arsenal asking too much for the Swiss midfielder?

Granit Xhaka Switzerland Baku Azerbaijan Copyright: JustPictures.ch/JustPicturesPlus
Granit Xhaka Switzerland Baku Azerbaijan Copyright: JustPictures.ch/JustPicturesPlus

Arsenal and Roma have been locked in negotiations for Granit Xhaka since long before the Euros started despite the player agreeing a deal as far back as 10 June. The clubs were said to have found an agreement the following day but, as we now know, that simply wasn’t true.

What are Arsenal asking for Granit Xhaka?

Arsenal want €20m for Granit Xhaka, which is around £17m. He has two years left on his Arsenal contract.

How much is Granit Xhaka actually worth?

Arsenal paid £40.5m for Granit Xhaka in 2016 when he was only valued at around £31.5m. Xhaka’s value rose as high as £45m in 2018 but it has been on a downward spiral ever since, just picking up in the autumn of 2020 before heading down again.

He is now worth around £19.8m, so the amount Arsenal are asking for him is far from unreasonable, especially when you consider he had a very good Euro campaign on the back of being one of Arsenal’s most important players.

What are Roma likely to pay for Granit Xhaka?

The most recent reports claim that Roma are about to up their offer from €15m to €15m + €2.5m in bonuses. They have already had at least three bids turned down.

Arsenal, though, aren’t very good at extracting full market value for their players from Italian clubs (any club?) so it’s highly unlikely we will see them get £17m for Xhaka let alone £19.8m.

In the last few seasons, we’ve seen Aaron Ramsey join Juventus on a free and Henrikh Mkhitaryan do the same at Roma. We got £3.15m for David Ospina from Napoli when he was worth around £4.5m, but getting anything for Ospina at that point could be considered good business.

Frosinone paid £1.35m for Joel Campbell when he was worth twice that, Juventus paid £12.6m for Wojciech Szczesny when he was worth about £16m, and Roma £7.2m for Gervinho when he was worth £9m.

In fact, that fee for Gervinho is the only money Roma have ever paid to buy an Arsenal player. Arsenal have never bought a player from Roma.

How much will Granit Xhaka earn at Roma?

At Arsenal, Granit Xhaka earns £5.2m-a-season. That’s £100k-per-week.

If reports from Italy are to be believed, Xhaka will earn €2.5m, plus bonuses, in Rome. Converting to sterling, that’s £2.17m-a-year or, if you prefer, £41k-per-week.

That’s a cut of 59%!

That seemed quite steep so considered it might have something to do with the differing tax rates in the two countries. The top bracket in the UK is 45%, meaning that Xhaka ‘only’ ever got to take home £2.66m (£51k-per-week) but the top rate in Italy is not much different at 43%.

Italy, however, have a special tax break for top athletes under what they call the ‘brain return’. The irony of this applying to Granit Xhaka not being lost on me.

People eligible for the ‘brain return’ generally only pay tax on 30% of their salary, but the exemption for sports stars sits at 50% (so Xhaka will pay 43% on 50% of his salary rather than on all of it). Handy for Xhaka, the tax break lasts five years – the same length as his contract.

It still represents a cut, but it’s not as severe as it first seems. It means, if my maths are correct, that Xhaka should take home around £32kpw at Roma.

No doubt, the difference between this and the £51kpw he took home at Arsenal will be made up with bonuses, at least partially. Still, it’s a big basic cut.

The deal is all seemingly wrapped up and an announcement was expected when Switzerland crashed out of the Euros, then when the Euros end, no, who knows.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.