According to Mirror, Arsenal could potentially ship Granit Xhaka away from the Emirates in the upcoming January transfer window. The Swiss international was recently stripped of the captaincy following his impulsive reaction to the Arsenal fans. And it is believed that Xhaka hasn’t travelled with the squad since and the midfielder could now be facing an uncertain future at the club.
Does Xhaka deserve to get axed?
Xhaka’s reaction to Arsenal fans during the game against Crystal Palace is not something one would expect from a club captain. But, it is perhaps wiser to look from a broader perspective and figure out as to whether his departure could be detrimental for Arsenal, regardless of his actions against Palace.
Tactically, Xhaka offers Unai Emery an option in the holding midfield role. He usually sits in front of the back four with Matteo Guendouzi and Dani Ceballos pushing forward. But, the Swiss hasn’t been doing a great job, often appearing tentative in possession or lacking composure in his defensive game.
As a result, the Arsenal backline has lacked security. But more importantly, Xhaka’s presence hasn’t improved the club’s build-up from the back either, which is a cause for concern as you would typically expect your CDM to be a gifted passer. And while Xhaka is a good ball distributor, most of his passes are vertical, meaningless passes.
Therefore, from a sporting perspective, it does make sense for Emery to offload the ex-Gladbach midfielder in the upcoming winter transfer window.
What should Arsenal do in the post-Xhaka era?
The departure of Xhaka would leave a void to fill in the midfield department. Unfortunately, the Gunners lack the services of a reliable defensive midfielder unless Emery opts for Torreira to play in that defensive role. And frankly, the Uruguayan has been awful playing in a deeper role so far this campaign.
Emery could, however, utilise Calum Chambers as the CDM. The ex-Southampton star used to play in that role for Fulham last season and had made quite an impression too. Alternatively, David Luiz is an option as the Brazilian is quite familiar with that role.
But, what Arsenal should really do is to use the Xhaka fund to sign the desired replacement. Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey could be an excellent option along with Juventus outcast Emre Can. Emery may also take a risk by pursuing French wonderkid Eduardo Camavinga.