By Noel Whelan

18th Jun, 2022 | 11:34am

Arsenal backed to replace Granit Xhaka with 'complete midfielder' as bid expected - pundit

Noel Whelan has tipped Youri Tielemans to replace Granit Xhaka in the Arsenal starting XI if he joins from Leicester City this summer.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker insisted the Foxes’ 25-year-old is the “complete midfield player”.

As reported by Fabrizio Romano on Friday (17 June), Arsenal are working on a deal to sign Tielemans this summer, with Leicester braced for an official bid.

The Belgium international has a year left on his contract, meaning the Foxes risk losing him on a free if he is not sold this summer.

Whelan admitted he would “love to see Tielemans at Arsenal”.

Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “I think that’s the competition that Xhaka is looking at as well, isn’t he? They’re looking at that more complete midfield player.

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“Xhaka is one that is very combative in midfield, he can put his foot in but so can Youri Tielemans. When you’re looking at a player, how many goals has Youri Tielemans scored in the Premier League? What effect does he have from set-pieces? He tops Xhaka, no doubt.

“I think that is the difference there, I think that’s the competition that you’re looking at, is Tielemans for Xhaka.

“I would love to see Youri Tielemans at Arsenal, I think he would thrive. There was talk about him going to Liverpool as well.

“Arsenal are now looking at certain players and positions in their side that I believe needed strengthening. They’ve done the centre-halves, which people were begging for. Not just for one year but for probably about seven.

“They’ve got those boxes and those jigsaw pieces fitted in. I think that one piece now is that midfield and I think it is Youri Tielemans. He could take a great step from Leicester. He’s been fantastic there but I would love to see him in an Arsenal shirt and see what effect he has on that team.”

In other news, Kieran Maguire tips Arsenal to exploit ‘stupidity’ of fans and sign new deal.