The Reason Arsenal Signed Granit Xhaka Over N'Golo Kante in 2016

Four years on from their respective moves to London, it's almost impossible to imagine Granit Xhaka going for more in the transfer market than N'Golo Kanté.

One has steadily built on an already immense reputation to establish himself as one of the best central midfielders in the world; winning a World Cup, a Premier League title and a Europa League to boot. 

The other has been ​Granit Xhaka. 

Granit Xhaka,N'Golo Kante

With hindsight, then, it seems damning that ​The Athletic are reporting that ​Arsenal could have had ​Kanté instead around the time that they opted to spend close to £40m to sign the Swiss midfielder from Borussia Monchengladbach.

However, it wasn't a refusal to meet ​Leicester's demands, nor was it a case of baulking over wage demands that allowed ​Chelsea to steal in and secure a modest-looking £32m deal for the tenacious midfielder.

The Gunners' reluctance is said to have centred around the meteoric agent fees involved in the deal. 

It's claimed that more than £10m was eventually paid to the two agents involved in brokering the deal, and the figures involved - £6.4m to Gregory Dakad and £4.2m to Abdelkarim Douis - were enough even to put Paris Saint-Germain off a potential approach. 

The way things have gone since, Arsenal might have grounds to be kicking themselves for not meeting the agents' demands, but according to Dick Law - the club's main transfer negotiator between 2009 and 2018 - such financial gambles just weren't in the club's remit.

N'Golo Kante,Granit Xhaka

“We had to work the market hard, and try to find value in certain types of players. We just didn’t have the luxury of making a mistake," he said. “We didn’t feel like we could afford to blow £30m or £40m on a player and it not work out.

“While that thinking was limiting in one way, it was very empowering in another. It meant that you really pressed your scouting team to the limit.”

Referencing Kanté, specifically, he said: “When things reached an extreme, we tended to back away,”

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Source : 90min