Granit Xhaka: Return Of The Xhak

Garrincha

Wilf Zaha Aficionado
Trusted ⭐

Arsenal and Xhaka: Will the midfielder walk away this summer?​


By James McNicholas
May 22, 2022

In the immediate aftermath of Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at Newcastle, a result that took Arsenal’s top-four fate out of their own hands, Granit Xhaka was understandably emotional. His post-match interview suggested a cocktail of disappointment, frustration and regret. He was hurting.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Arsenal have not qualified for the Champions League since Xhaka arrived in the summer of 2016. In the intervening six years, the 29-year-old has been a liability, a leader, and practically everything in between. The season’s climax was supposed to be the crowning moment in his redemption arc.

And, perhaps, a chance to leave on a high? Xhaka is coming to the end of two seasons of fairly consistent performance — his stock at Arsenal is as high as it has ever been. Speaking in April, he said he would only want to leave Arsenal having achieved “something special”. Perhaps restoring the club to the Champions League, a competition they qualified for 19 years consecutively before his arrival, might have been his cue to ride off into the sunset.

This is not to cast aspersions on Xhaka’s commitment to Arsenal, or indeed manager Mikel Arteta. It was the Spaniard who persuaded him to stay at Arsenal when he first arrived in the winter of 2020. “Mikel and I are very close,” Xhaka admitted earlier this season. “When he came two years ago he told me exactly what I wanted to hear. I was missing a coach like him, very warm and open with clear ideas and he is always behind me no matter what people were saying about me.”

Arteta’s conversations with Xhaka were also critical in the Switzerland international choosing to stay at the club last summer after Arsenal fielded bids from Roma. In the end, Arsenal exercised an option to extend Xhaka’s contract by a further year until 2024.

Xhaka Arteta after the Chelsea match


Arteta and Xhaka have always been close (Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
But Xhaka is 29 now and will be 30 early next season. His interest in a move to Roma last year appeared more than just a mere flirtation. If he is serious about experiencing a new challenge, a new environment — and earning a long-term contract that will carry him into his mid-30s — this may be the right time.

For Arsenal, too, there is an economic argument to sell. Arsenal paid a fee of around £35 million to sign Xhaka in 2016, and this is most likely their last chance to recoup a sizeable sum for the player. At his age, in good form, and with two years remaining on his contract, his value may never be the same again. Arsenal have a poor track record when it comes to recouping revenue through player sales — perhaps this could be an opportunity for them to be ruthless.

It’s hard to imagine Arteta would want to lose Xhaka. He is a key member of his team — when he is fit, he plays. Arteta is attempting to build something at Arsenal, so losing one of his first-choice midfielders would be far from ideal. Arsenal will also be appointing a new captain this summer. It won’t be Xhaka, but he remains an influential voice in the dressing room.

There is, however, a slight sense that the team is evolving beyond Xhaka. In the second half of the season, Arsenal have tended to operate with more of a 4-3-3 shape. When fit, Thomas Partey has taken over playmaking responsibilities at the base of the midfield. Xhaka has been playing in a more advanced role, more akin to a No 8. He has played well, but are there alternatives out there who are better suited to his new responsibilities? Almost certainly.

There’s no doubt Xhaka’s presence, on and off the field, would be missed at Arsenal. Arteta is in no doubt about what he offers: “If every fan, or individual spent five, 10 minutes with Granit — even two minutes — they will understand the person he is, the professional that he is and how much he cares about the club.”

Externally, he is subject to more criticism. Even his post-Newcastle interview saw him become the subject of Gary Neville’s ire on Sky’s television broadcast. In his pre-Everton press conference, Arteta downplayed it: “When you allow people to speak in front of the media you have to allow them to say what they feel. Unquestionably, knowing Granit, that’s what he felt.”




And that seems fair enough. We put a lot of stock in what athletes say in the emotionally fraught moments immediately after they’ve spent 90 minutes running around. They are dehydrated, exhausted and, in this case, upset. When Xhaka volunteered to speak to the media on Monday night, the Arsenal press officer would have known the likely outcome. At least he had the courage to do it.

When Xhaka does things, they make more headlines. He has a reputation in England that he is constantly battling against. It certainly seems that way with referees. The question is whether that is a stigma Arsenal are prepared to carry? Do the good things Xhaka offers make up for the baggage he carries?

Steadily, Xhaka has rebuilt his reputation at Arsenal. Most fans have come to respect him as a person — and, by and large, as a player.

Now he faces a choice: does he want to stay at Arsenal, to help lead the younger generation back into Europe? Or does the reconciliation mean he can now walk away with his head held high?
All that Gunnerblog fluff aside... its just hard to see how he exits financially. The pool of midtable / upper midtable clubs that can offer a fresh 120k contract into his 30s is small.
 

albakos

Arséne Wenger: "I will miss you"
Administrator
Literally just Gunnerblog wishing him away that article :lol:

Load of nothing.

Exactly, he gave himself up with this, couldn't resist
But Xhaka is 29 now and will be 30 early next season. His interest in a move to Roma last year appeared more than just a mere flirtation. If he is serious about experiencing a new challenge, a new environment — and earning a long-term contract that will carry him into his mid-30s — this may be the right time.
 

Riou

English Super Cup Enjoyer 🤗
He only wanted to go Roma, because he thought he was finished here.

This season has been his best, since his first season at the club...would be shocked if he wanted to leave now, the manager trusts him and fans like him again.

No player would pick Roma over Arsenal, unless they felt they had to.
 

Taneruit

Established Member
He only wanted to go Roma, because he thought he was finished here.

This season has been his best, since his first season at the club...would be shocked if he wanted to leave now, the manager trusts him and fans like him again.

No player would pick Roma over Arsenal, unless they felt they had to.

Pretty much the big reason.

Xhaka last year thought it was time to move on. The relationship with fans was still bad, the season, while he personally had an ok/decent one things just went bad for the team. Just signs to move on. Mourinho offered him a new start in a different league and credit to Mourinho he always treated Xhaka very fair as a pundit.

(On that note, for as little as there was, Wenger & Mourinho absolutely destroyed 99% of the UK's punditry in terms of quality and showed how bad the whole thing actually is. Watching clowns like Neville this year just reminded me.)

Circumstances are completely different now. He's happy, he's gotten rid off that chip on his shoulder by speaking about his feelings on the past and he's clearly invested.

I don't rule out a transfer, but not to Roma and not a forced one where we have to pay up.

Which is fine by me, but we definitely need 1-2 new CM's to give competition and variety to the middle. Each of our CM's will have plenty of minutes anyway with our injury record and 5 substitutions going on and I want to finally be able to rotate the midfield without everything falling apart. A top-class midfield should be one of the most rotated positions during the season, not the least rotated one. Liverpool does it, City does it, I want to do it too.
 

RunTheTrap

Nobody laughs on my "jokes" 😫
Xhaka using his free time to coach a local club from his hometown.

Not surprising tbh. I’m sure I read somewhere he wants to go into coaching once he retires. I think he could be a decent one tbh. Worked under an attacking genius like Wenger and I’m sure some of Arteta’s methodical approach has rubbed off on him. He’s been seen as a leader in every club he’s been and some of that fiery energy could be better used as a coach.
 

Emeryates

Lidl reed
After carefully considering all our options.

I think the only person who has what it takes, to replace Arteta as our manager...is Xhaka.

So we keep Mikel, until Granit is ready for the job.

#OurFutureSorted
Will he be an Arsenal legend like Mikel too for the Athletic? :lol:
 

BigPoppaPump

Reeling from Laca & Kos nightmares
Why can't we move this guy on? We've been watching him stink it up for years and he's still just here as the constant in our worst years of modern times. It doesn't matter what changes around him Xhaka is always there ffs, he's the reason we're not a CL team anymore.
 

BigPoppaPump

Reeling from Laca & Kos nightmares

Arsenal and Xhaka: Will the midfielder walk away this summer?​


By James McNicholas
May 22, 2022

In the immediate aftermath of Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at Newcastle, a result that took Arsenal’s top-four fate out of their own hands, Granit Xhaka was understandably emotional. His post-match interview suggested a cocktail of disappointment, frustration and regret. He was hurting.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Arsenal have not qualified for the Champions League since Xhaka arrived in the summer of 2016. In the intervening six years, the 29-year-old has been a liability, a leader, and practically everything in between. The season’s climax was supposed to be the crowning moment in his redemption arc.

And, perhaps, a chance to leave on a high? Xhaka is coming to the end of two seasons of fairly consistent performance — his stock at Arsenal is as high as it has ever been. Speaking in April, he said he would only want to leave Arsenal having achieved “something special”. Perhaps restoring the club to the Champions League, a competition they qualified for 19 years consecutively before his arrival, might have been his cue to ride off into the sunset.

This is not to cast aspersions on Xhaka’s commitment to Arsenal, or indeed manager Mikel Arteta. It was the Spaniard who persuaded him to stay at Arsenal when he first arrived in the winter of 2020. “Mikel and I are very close,” Xhaka admitted earlier this season. “When he came two years ago he told me exactly what I wanted to hear. I was missing a coach like him, very warm and open with clear ideas and he is always behind me no matter what people were saying about me.”

Arteta’s conversations with Xhaka were also critical in the Switzerland international choosing to stay at the club last summer after Arsenal fielded bids from Roma. In the end, Arsenal exercised an option to extend Xhaka’s contract by a further year until 2024.

Xhaka Arteta after the Chelsea match


Arteta and Xhaka have always been close (Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
But Xhaka is 29 now and will be 30 early next season. His interest in a move to Roma last year appeared more than just a mere flirtation. If he is serious about experiencing a new challenge, a new environment — and earning a long-term contract that will carry him into his mid-30s — this may be the right time.

For Arsenal, too, there is an economic argument to sell. Arsenal paid a fee of around £35 million to sign Xhaka in 2016, and this is most likely their last chance to recoup a sizeable sum for the player. At his age, in good form, and with two years remaining on his contract, his value may never be the same again. Arsenal have a poor track record when it comes to recouping revenue through player sales — perhaps this could be an opportunity for them to be ruthless.

It’s hard to imagine Arteta would want to lose Xhaka. He is a key member of his team — when he is fit, he plays. Arteta is attempting to build something at Arsenal, so losing one of his first-choice midfielders would be far from ideal. Arsenal will also be appointing a new captain this summer. It won’t be Xhaka, but he remains an influential voice in the dressing room.

There is, however, a slight sense that the team is evolving beyond Xhaka. In the second half of the season, Arsenal have tended to operate with more of a 4-3-3 shape. When fit, Thomas Partey has taken over playmaking responsibilities at the base of the midfield. Xhaka has been playing in a more advanced role, more akin to a No 8. He has played well, but are there alternatives out there who are better suited to his new responsibilities? Almost certainly.

There’s no doubt Xhaka’s presence, on and off the field, would be missed at Arsenal. Arteta is in no doubt about what he offers: “If every fan, or individual spent five, 10 minutes with Granit — even two minutes — they will understand the person he is, the professional that he is and how much he cares about the club.”

Externally, he is subject to more criticism. Even his post-Newcastle interview saw him become the subject of Gary Neville’s ire on Sky’s television broadcast. In his pre-Everton press conference, Arteta downplayed it: “When you allow people to speak in front of the media you have to allow them to say what they feel. Unquestionably, knowing Granit, that’s what he felt.”




And that seems fair enough. We put a lot of stock in what athletes say in the emotionally fraught moments immediately after they’ve spent 90 minutes running around. They are dehydrated, exhausted and, in this case, upset. When Xhaka volunteered to speak to the media on Monday night, the Arsenal press officer would have known the likely outcome. At least he had the courage to do it.

When Xhaka does things, they make more headlines. He has a reputation in England that he is constantly battling against. It certainly seems that way with referees. The question is whether that is a stigma Arsenal are prepared to carry? Do the good things Xhaka offers make up for the baggage he carries?

Steadily, Xhaka has rebuilt his reputation at Arsenal. Most fans have come to respect him as a person — and, by and large, as a player.

Now he faces a choice: does he want to stay at Arsenal, to help lead the younger generation back into Europe? Or does the reconciliation mean he can now walk away with his head held high?
Of course he's not gonna go, last time he wanted to leave the only people that wanted him were Newcastle and Hertha Berlin, but now Newcastle are probably above him. Even Roma didn't want to pay for him, once he leaves Arsena it's only downhill for him. Midfield Almunia basically.
 

Mrs Bergkamp

Double Dusted
Dusted 🔻
Why can't we move this guy on? We've been watching him stink it up for years and he's still just here as the constant in our worst years of modern times. It doesn't matter what changes around him Xhaka is always there ffs, he's the reason we're not a CL team anymore.
I forgot Drinkwater had been at Chelsea for five years and now leaves for free after not working out. Whilst Xhaka has been better post injury, sometimes it's better to make a change. Arteta lacks ambition, imagination and courage especially now he's got his own new contract.
 

Macho

Has Trust Issues With Processes
Dusted 🔻
If Partey had his leg amputated he'd still be a better CM than Xhaka.
Xhaka is ever present when the team is playing with 3 or more makeshift players and going through difficult spells, I feel this skews people's view of him.

Partey is not and he most likely won't be next season too the way things are looking. His signing has been a bit of a joke really and it's compounded further by the transfer strategies being based around the assumption that he's going to play 30+ games.
 

OnlyOne

Who Mods the Mods?
Trusted ⭐
Xhaka is ever present when the team is playing with 3 or more makeshift players and going through difficult spells, I feel this skews people's view of him.

Partey is not and he most likely won't be next season too the way things are looking. His signing has been a bit of a joke really and it's compounded further by the transfer strategies being based around the assumption that he's going to play 30+ games.

I think we would replace Xhaka if the right bid came in, I am not so sure we'd be so keen to keep him but I am basing that off last summer and as you say consistently this season he's been our best performing midfielder so this may have changed.
 

Macho

Has Trust Issues With Processes
Dusted 🔻
I think we would replace Xhaka if the right bid came in, I am not so sure we'd be so keen to keep him but I am basing that off last summer and as you say consistently this season he's been our best performing midfielder so this may have changed.
The midfield has needed surgery for what feels like a decade but we keep buying centrebacks.

If I was proper rooting for the club, I'd tell Arteta to reintegrate Saliba and spend all the money on midfield and upfront (6 & 8, then a 9 & Jesus)

Instead I expect them to sign an 8, Jesus, another CB, then plug the rest of the holes with Sambi/Tavares type signings.
 

jones

Not German FFS
Trusted ⭐
Xhaka is ever present when the team is playing with 3 or more makeshift players and going through difficult spells, I feel this skews people's view of him.
Xhaka has been at the club for six years. I was ecstatic when we signed him because I rated him really highly when he was in Germany, his performances for Arsenal have been a massive letdown to say the least. He's played 250 games for us under Wenger, Emery and Arteta, playing alongside the likes of Ramsey Coquelin Cazorla Partey Guendouzi etc, his issues have little to do with who he's played alongside imo. Not entirely his fault just like it wasn't entirely Mustafi's fault that he turned from one of Europe's biggest CB talents to a joke, but it is what it is at this point.
Partey is not and he most likely won't be next season too the way things are looking. His signing has been a bit of a joke really and it's compounded further by the transfer strategies being based around the assumption that he's going to play 30+ games.
Not that there's nothing to not like about the signing of Partey, us leaving until the last day of the season to trigger the clause, the way he's completely lost his shooting boots upon arrival, the amount of injuries he's been suffering from, our refraining to give him a proper midfield partner etc.

He's never been this injury prone in Spain, he missed six games through injury in seven years and now 30+ in two seasons at Arsenal. Then again he's never had to work under a joke of a coach who couldn't field a coherent XI to save his life. We watch the game dominate Liverpool on their own turf with Llorente, Koke and Saul (before he went to ****) next to him, then we watch him get injured because Arteta literally shoves him onto the pitch when he can barely walk. Yeah I'm not calling the signing a joke when our handling of it has been this laughable.

Either way Xhaka has probably cost us more points than Partey has even played games for us.
 

Macho

Has Trust Issues With Processes
Dusted 🔻
Either way Xhaka has probably cost us more points than Partey has even played games for us.
Xhaka hasn't had a stable partner himself, Partey was supposed to be that but in the end it's always down to Xhaka.

Partey is there when the whole team is fit and playing well, he's been a good time guy in his Arsenal career so far. Not saying he's getting injured on purpose, but naturally he will be held to higher esteem cause of this.
 

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