Who Could Replace Granit Xhaka at Arsenal?

After enjoying one of his best seasons in an Arsenal shirt in 2022/23, Granit Xhaka has made the surprising decision to leave the club to join Bayern Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. Xhaka was an everpresent in the Arsenal midfield last summer but with Mikel Arteta revamping his squad this summer, the 30-year-old has decided that it's time to move on.

Xhaka is reportedly already in Germany to undergo a medical at Leverkusen after the two clubs agreed a fee for the Swiss International. Xhaka will pen a five-year deal, a rarity for a player in their 30s, at the Bundesliga club and will get to work with Xabi Alonso who is quietly doing a very good at the German club.

With Xhaka out the door, Arteta has a hole in the number eight position in his starting eleven – a position he will need to fill before the season. Is that player already at the club or will Arteta need to dip into the transfer market once again? Let's take a look at the possibilities.

Three players who could replace Xhaka at Arsenal

Kai Havertz

The most obvious conclusion to make from Arsenal allowing Xhaka to leave the club is that Kai Havertz is the man they've earmarked to replace the 30-year-old in the starting eleven. Last month, Havertz made the move from Chelsea for £65m but there has been much debate about where the German will fit into the Arsenal starting lineup.

At Chelsea, Havertz was played in a variety of positions but looked most comfortable when he was played in a deeper role behind a striker rather than as the focal point himself. It isn't inconceivable that he could turn into a fantastic number eight under the guidance of Arteta and considering the money the club has spent on him, he must have a set position in mind for him.

Declan Rice

Considering the speculation around Thomas Partey's future at the club, many people assume that Declan Rice will simply be coming in as the club's new number six. The official announcement of Rice's transfer is due any day now after Arsenal agreed a £105m deal with West Ham for the England midfielder.

While Rice has played the vast majority of games in his senior career as a number six, there is a feeling that he could excel as a number eight. He has the engine and ball-carrying ability to drive between both boxes which could make him the perfect Xhaka replacement/upgrade. If this is where Arteta plans on playing Rice, then the club will either need to keep Partey at the club or buy another holding midfielder.

Aurelien Tchouameni

Despite spending over £200m already on Havertz, Rice and Timber, speculation continues to grow about further transfer activity at Arsenal. A reason report in Spain suggests that the club are lining up a move for Real Madrid's Aurelien Tchouameni.

The Frenchman only joined the Spanish giants last summer but has struggled for game time at the club which might make a move to Arsenal tempting. If Arsenal do sign Tchoucaemeni, then they will have another player who can play in both the number six and number eight positions.