New role for Xhaka? Arsenal eye up Herrera swoop

Arsenal could sign Ander Herrera on a free transfer in the summer, per the Daily Mail.

The Manchester United midfielder’s contract expires in the summer and he has also courted interest from Ligue 1 giants PSG.

What’s the word?

Herrera has yet to commit to fresh terms at Old Trafford but the Mail report that he could yet decide to stay at the club.

He is said to be hoping for an increase on his current £80,000-per-week contract, with a figure of £150,000-per-week stated.

As the Spain international’s deal is reaching its end, he is free to speak to foreign clubs regarding his future and PSG are said to have already entered into negotiations over the possibility of a summer deal.

Arsenal are also interested, though, and the Mail claim that they would be able to offer him a pay rise.

Indeed, there would be no transfer fee involved in a deal for a player who has made 186 appearances for the Red Devils.

During his time at the club, the midfielder has won the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Europa League; he has also won two caps for Spain.

A formation change?

Arsenal could be set for a formation shift.

Aaron Ramsey, of course, is heading to Juventus on a free transfer in the summer and bringing Herrera in opens the possibility of a tactical tweak from manager Unai Emery.

Granit Xhaka could be key to that; he has the ability to play in a more creative role and could be trusted to sit deep, spraying balls around the pitch as both Herrera and Lucas Torreira do the dirty work of winning the ball back in midfield.

The Switzerland international, indeed, has enjoyed an excellent season, finally coming good on long-heralded potential.

Having Herrera and Torreira in advance of Xhaka is a tough-tackling midfield and would also allow for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stretch his legs on the wing.

Indeed, manager Emery is no stranger to 4-3-3, having deployed the system at PSG, with three of Marco Verratti, Adrien Rabiot, Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi featuring in the centre of the pitch.

Xhaka, too, has experience in a deep-lying role, playing there for Borussia Monchengladbach prior to his move to England.

Herrera, then, could be the key to Emery bringing back one of his preferred systems from a previous club.