So it appears that we are now in full swing for transfer nonsense time, with today’s instalment including our Swiss centre midfielder who really does seem to divide opinions. So many people can’t look beyond the lack of pace, his mistakes and occasional hot-headedness, as well as some of the other issues like the Palace cupping of his ears to the Arsenal fans as he walked off. Yet for every Xhaka hater, I feel like there are those that appreciate what he offers to our team. I must confess I fall in to the latter category. I think Xhaka has been a good player for us at times, certainly this season he has improved, plus when he was pulled out of the team from midfield we were noticeably worse. For those arguing that Xhaka is…well…”a bit sh*t”…I give you Ceballos and Elneny, neither of whom are anywhere near his level or offer the same technical security wtih the ball at their feet or their passing range.
Having said that and whilst I admit I think he’s been a good player for us, I do recognise that if a decent offer came in for him, I’d be more than open to the idea of seeing him move on. Our utopia for a midifled at Arsenal is dynasim, passing range, movement and physicality. It is why everyone is getting so caught up with the likes of Yves Bissouma, because he does offer a lot of that and has shown he can do it in the Premier League, so to me that makes sense. And if somebody was to tell me that we could replace Xhaka with Bissouma then I think that would be a worthwhile decision and represent some sense. Xhaka is 28 with two year’s left on his deal. He has just had probably his best season in an Arsenal shirt and you don’t have to go far to see that in some of the statistical evidence doing the round when looking at his season. So with two year’s left, the idea that the player himself would be open to a move, plus the fact that there does appear to be interest, I can totally see this making sense.
Here’s the thing though: Xhaka is the least of this squad’s worries and I would be far more concerned with all of the other business that needs to be done before him. Perhaps this is a quick deal that can be done and that is why we are hearing about it now. But if I was in Arsenal’s shoes I’d be thinking about offloading other players, getting cash in, then when we get to the end of July if there was still demand for Xhaka, for example, I’d be looking at what we could get. I don’t think it prudent for us to be looking to offload one of the few midfield pieces that seemed to work alongside Partey this season.
We’ve also got the whole AFCON thing to think about. Ceballos has gone back to Madrid, Elneny and Partey will be at the AFCON and there are still big question marks over whether Willock and Maitalnd-Niles will stay. Well I can tell you one thing right now, as it stands if the Xhaka stuff happens soon they’ll have to stay, because in January 2022 when the AFCON comes around, we’ll have no bloody midfielders available!
Of course Arsenal will make moves and of course we’ll bring in at least one midfielder, but imagine if that is MALIAN born Bissouma? We’ll be looking at Azeez and hoping he’s the second coming of Petit and Vieira rolled in to one, that’s for sure!
The price that is being quoted for Xhaka is farcical too. As I’ve already mentioned, he’d just come off the back of his best season with us and is at his peak. Yet £20million from Roma is the price people are talking about.
Can you imagine if we were going to Roma and asking them for one of their first teamer regular starters who was 28 and had just come off the back of his best season? “Yes Arsenal, that’s fine, we’ll take £40million thanks” would be the response. If Arsenal offload Xhaka for £20million they better have one heck of an unearthed gem they bring in, because whoever we go to will want double that for the same that Xhaka gives us.
So for me I’d be fine for Xhaka to move on, but let’s not have our pants pulled down, AGAIN! Roma already got Mkhitaryan for a freebie so we shouldn’t be taking any funny business from them. Cough up £30million and we’ll all go our separate ways, please.
Perhaps this is the first of a good sign though. Perhaps this is Arsenal acting swiftly to get money in because we need to do our business asap. I’m fine with that, but only if we get the other business done too, please. Willian out the door to anyone who will take him. Tout Eddie around to the likes of Brighton and hope for a part-ex with Bissouma. Let’s see what we can get for AMN and if Newcastle want Willock so bad let them pay north of £30million for him. If we start hearing those rumours sooner rather than later then maybe i’ll start to get a little more excited. At the moment though I remain wary.
That’s all I gots for ya today. At least the rumblings are happening now. Hopefully the actual business can be done both ways soon. Let’s not hang around until August this year, eh?
Catch you folks tomorrow. Have a good one.