Morning folks and welcome to another interminable week of international nonsense before we get to next weekend and the return of the Premier League.
What I always find fascinating about these breaks is not so much the football itself, but rather all the speculation that seems to be whipped up as a result of players going away with their respective countries on international duty. It happens almost as regular as clockwork that something slightly controversial seems to crop up. We’ve had it in the summer when all of the noises around Torreira seemed to surface and once again we have a little bit of nonsense around another one of ours.
Of course the news I’m talking about is the fact the Swiss FA are saying that Xhaka will need time off to become a father when the next international break comes around – as well as Xhaka himself saying he may take time off – is our latest talking point.
I must say Granit doesn’t help himself sometimes. He’s just come off the back of a pretty shocking performance in the North London Derby, followed up by an interview – in English so you can hardly blame translation issues – to say “so what?” In effect to his actions that cost us three points, whilst now saying that he’ll take time off to become a dad.
Now, I’m not saying he shouldn’t be at the birth of his child, of course he should. If, for example, his wife was due to give birth on a Friday but it went until a Saturday, then you’d not expect him to play on a Saturday or perhaps even Sunday or Monday of that week. But I’m reading talk of paternity leave and I’m like “wtf?!?”
He’s entitled to it as a UK resident of course. And for every other Tom, Dick and Harry nobody begrudges them that two weeks time off. But if we’re seriously talking about that for footballers then I’m afraid the world’s gone mad. Well, madder than it is at the moment, anyway…
For one thing footballers don’t work the same hours as a normal employee. They do about four or five ours a day. They are also paid so much at that level that ten years of working is enough to set you up for life. They simply don’t need paternity leave because they don’t work the same level of hours and so Xhaka will get plenty of time with his child straight after the birth anyway.
I know people are talking about us gradually phasing him out of the starting XI anyway given his propensity for error, but he’s still paid vast amounts of money by the club and no matter what you think of him he is a player we can use and so should be wishing he is available for selection as much as possible.
My hope is that this is just spurious conjecture and that when he does become a Dad he’ll miss maybe one game, max.
Of course it could come over the international break and therefore not affect us at all and I believe that’s why the Swiss are talking about this. But regardless of whether it affects us or not, my hope is that this isn’t a worrying trend we might start seeing.
The only other noises around the club, after a pretty quiet weekend it has to be said, is that Arsène Wenger did an interview saying he wasn’t prepped to got back to the Emirates any time soon.
I think that’s fair enough and his reasoning makes perfect sense, stating that he didn’t want to cause a cloud over Unai Emery and his team on the touch line, which is a good move in my opinion. Just think about what it was like when Moyes took over United that season. Ferguson was there almost every home game and almost every home game featured a camera panning to him with a “You wonder what he would be thinking right now” from the commentator of the day. The same would happen with Wenger in the stands and so we need a little more time to elapse before we get him in and the inevitable fanfare that would ensue.
Other than that there isn’t really a lot else that’s been said about the club over the weekend. There are some noises about Torreira possibly picking up a knock whilst in the Uruguayan national team but I can’t find anything other than one or two very tenuous links, so we just have to hope that it’s a wee bit of scaremongering from some of the press.
So I’ll call it a day with that one and I’ll catch you all in the morning.