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✍️ OFFICIAL Granit Xhaka (Out)

Will Manberg/Bergman complete the five stages of grief before the window opens?

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Papa Wonga

Established Member
If he signs a new deal I'm done.

I swear to god, this is why we're always going to be average stuck with **** like this.

Board having a Cracking summer, not one peice of ****e removed from the squad, Elneny still stealing a living, Willian loving life, Kolasinac still existing in london.

Seria A clubs are ****, they cry murder when they get lowball offers.

Rex Stone

We all live in an Edu submarine
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Country: Wales
I expect that too. Xhaka and Saka won't come into the side till later either with them having had an extended break. Elneny will be next to Partey at Brentford. Can't see him chucking Lokonga in an away game to start the season.

You reckon Willian will start? Wouldn’t be surprised at that either tbh.


Mesmerised By Raccoons
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I've said this all summer though, Xhaka is by design - if he goes he will literally be replaced. Like the meme states, he is inevitable.

Looking at our targets like Neves and Locatelli, I'm not surprised at all by these events. it may be cheaper just to keep him.

This article from our friends the Athletic also kinda backs up my opinion.

Since Mikel Arteta’s appointment at Arsenal in December 2019, few players have had as much influence on the style of play as Granit Xhaka.

A divisive figure among fans during his five years in north London, the 28-year-old has, without doubt, had the most clarity over his midfield role over the past 18 months.

Despite being used in 70 of 76 Premier League games under Arsène Wenger and 38 of 51, while also being handed captaincy, under Unai Emery, neither manager truly utilised his strengths. This meant although Xhaka could control games, more often than not, he would be caught out by the pace of the game.

“He’s putting me in the positions where I have freedom, where I have the game in front of me. This is what I like. I don’t like the game with my back to the opponent’s goal, I like to see the whole game in front of me.” the Swiss captain said when asked how his role had changed under Arteta in February.

That emphasis on the positions he takes has been the most notable change in that time.

Xhaka was sliding between left-sided centre-back and left-back (Bukayo Saka at the time), as early as Arteta’s managerial debut away at Bournemouth on Boxing Day 2019. That has remained consistent ever since, especially once Kieran Tierney returned, and looks to be a role that will remain with or without the man who ended 2020-21 as Arsenal’s most used outfield player in all competitions with 3,720 minutes played.

While this tweak has seen the best of Xhaka in an Arsenal shirt, the argument that the best of Arsenal has not been visible with that role deployed is valid.

Over-reliant on what Xhaka offered from that perch, much of the past 18 months has seen the side try and funnel attacks down that left flank as he allows a better transition through defensive, middle and final thirds on that side, while Tierney is an extreme threat. This is displayed by Xhaka leading Arsenal outfield players for passes into the final third (336) and progressive passing distance (13,822 yards) last season, while Tierney was third in passes that led directly to a shot (38) from left-back.

Unable to join Arsenal’s pre-season due to the fact he is still on holiday following Switzerland’s impressive Euro 2020 campaign, Xhaka’s role has been temporarily filled by Mohamed Elneny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and, more recently, Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Arteta used a 4-4-2 at Hibernian which put less emphasis on the role, but it has returned against Rangers and Millwall. Of course, Xhaka’s main selling point of him being left-footed is missing, but so far during pre-season, there appear to be more options to advance upfield than just forcing traffic down the left.

Early on at Ibrox, Elneny filled that space, allowing Nuno Tavares to push forward, but Rangers did well to block the routes forward for Arsenal.


Elneny, being a right-footer, could not bend the ball into Tavares’ path, so switched it back across where space was with Rob Holding, Cedric and Emile Smith Rowe.

Holding takes a touch to control before passing to Cedric. The Portuguese then finds Smith Rowe who has peeled away from his marker and is in a great position to receive the ball.


His touch is heavy on this occasion, but Nicolas Pepe — who has been very sharp this pre-season — is already steaming in off his wing, takes the ball and then looks to link with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang centrally, while Folarin Balogun drifts inside and Tavares is left as the free man out wide.

Recognising other areas to exploit when Plan A is blocked was an area Arsenal struggled with last season. Once the first choice pass was closed off, what would often follow was the player on the ball motioning for movement and taking a passive backwards or sideways path, giving the opposition the time to regain their shape.

Even without Xhaka, the left-footed option in that area still remains with Pablo Mari (and Gabriel Magalhaes when back from injury), as the midfielder given the deeper role could drop centrally to give the centre-back that space and security to step forward and play down the line.


With Elneny deep, Thomas Partey drifts across.

The Rangers midfield expect Tavares to drive forward upon receiving and drop, but Partey holds his position to then receive in decent space.


Then comes the line-breaking pass that was seen on occasion last season, and will be even more welcome in 2021-22.


Once again, despite being away from the initial passage of play, Smith Rowe has moved into a great receiving position and uses his body extremely well — as he has done from a young age — letting the ball run across his body and taking it on his back foot, to draw out Leon Balogun and burst into the space behind him.

With Lokonga, as well as both Elneny and Partey, able to play as No 6s as well as No 8s in a double pivot, it’s opened a possibility of Arteta moving to a 4-3-3. So far, that has not been put to use this summer although it still could if the manager decides to keep using a system where Smith Rowe operates as a natural No 10, and having different ways of reaching him will be key.

Allowed to roam between the lines, the attacking midfielder has been pushing into incredibly dangerous positions so far this pre-season. As well as laying the ball to others, he has also been able to get into shooting positions — an area of his game he is looking to improve in senior football.

To effectively reach him and others in the final third, building from back to front cannot become as predictable as it did during the first half of last season when deploying the 3-4-3 system.

Should Xhaka return, these slight adjustments where he does not have to progress the ball up the left flank could help. If not, and he does move on to Roma, then it is clear those zones will still be filled by a midfielder or left-sided centre-back, but there is likely to be more freedom to move the ball and attack where the space is.

Making his unofficial debut against Millwall, Lokonga built on his reputation as a very progressive passer as, replacing Elneny, he moved into those areas and looked to push the ball forward constantly. Once Partey was replaced, he started moving further forward himself, but the passes remained proactive which is a positive sign ahead of the new season, considering Arsenal finished fifth in the Premier League last season for total distance of passes with 341,180 yards but just 13th for progressive pass distance on 93,564 yards.

Of course, it is still pre-season, but how Arsenal moved the ball up the pitch in 2020-21 was a real area for concern. This will not solve everything, but if more options are being presented to players when trying to progress the ball, that will be beneficial in the long term.

Facing Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City in their first three league games, however, Arsenal must be ready for tougher challenges when attempting to move forward, both figuratively and literally.

Papa Wonga

Established Member
I Expect no Midfield Upgrades this summer, and a PR spin on the lines of: "Not enough quality for the money being touted"


Definitely Not An Old Poster
I reckon it may still be posturing.
The Athletic is like our version of Marca is this isn't entirely implausible. Somewhere on RomaMania, a load of fans are losing their **** because rumours of Napoli being in for their main target start to surface...


Well-Known Member
Some reporters further the club's agenda. I think Amy Lawrence is one of those. I suspect this article is to push Roma into increasing their bid. We don't have to sell him and he is willing to stay. So either put out or find someone else. I don't think Xhaka will still be here when the window shuts.

Yousif Arsenal

On Vinai's payroll & misses 4th place trophy 🏆
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Also offering new deal for guy who 28 years old don't suit what we doing this summer by targeting players below 25 years old.

Don't know Amy close to the club sources but the timing is strange. Let's see there is month to go in market.

Papa Wonga

Established Member
Can't wait for an Elneny - Xhaka pivot at the Etihad and getting banged 7-0 by a grealish hattrick.

This club man, season could be over before brentford.


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Some reporters further the club's agenda. I think Amy Lawrence is one of those. I suspect this article is to push Roma into increasing their bid. We don't have to sell him and he is willing to stay. So either put out or find someone else. I don't think Xhaka will still be here when the window shuts.

Agreed. I'm not entirely convinced that any of the guys we've been linked to are an actual proper upgrades on Xhaka, so I wouldn't be that upset if he ends up staying, but it seems that he rightfully wants to move on as there is too much water under the bridge between him and the fans.

This does sound like a textbook leak from Arsenal to a journalist they can trust to get Roma pay what the club want.


Arséne Wenger: "I will miss you"

Country: Kosova

With AFCON early next year and our two midfielders: Partey and Elneny :) participating there, it goes and confirms @GDeep™ theory that we need experienced midfield bodies in there. :lol:
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