Granit Xhaka: Have Arsenal Fans Finally Got the Signing They Wanted?
Ever since Patrick Vieira departed the club, Arsenal fans have been crying out for a combative midfielder that would slot into their cultured side.
Though the cries have been loud, often Arsene Wenger has chosen to dismiss them, instead keeping faith with the likes of Mathieu Flamini, Mikael Arteta and Francis Coquelin to anchor things in midfield. But they’ve been woefully short especially in the Champions League where the Gunners have regularly imploded against Europe’s elite.
Many experts feel that the recent signing of Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka has seen Wenger finally silence the critics, with him securing a world-class defensive midfielder at long last. Although it’s very much early days, and the ex-Leverkusen man has yet to pull on an Arsenal shirt in competitive action, Xhaka isn’t without his fans. News broke first on Arsenal’s official Twitter account earlier this week.
While the majority of people feel Xhaka has been brought into play a defensive midfield position that might not be the case according to a slew of news reports. His abilities are far from restricted to a water-carrying role, even though his stats in the Bundesliga would suggest his best work is done breaking up attacks.
Bwin stated in an article, “The Swiss 23-year-old has been equally integral to the club he has just departed in terms of his ball-winning abilities, finishing the season with the best average interceptions per game and joint-best tackles mean.” The sports news site even suggests that Jack Wilshire, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin and Mohammad Elneny will be competing against each other for a single spot in the team next season to play alongside the Swiss international, meaning he could operate as a central midfielder instead of in a more defensive position.
While this won’t exactly fill the void Arsenal are desperately short of, and need to fill, it will give the side a combative and solid edge. At times Arsenal look too lightweight and Xhaka will add stability and a robust presence to the side. In an ideal world Wenger will look to bring in another ball winning midfielder to further bolster his ranks. Although, Wenger seems to have his sights set on his next target in the form of Spain and Juventus striker Alvaro Morata in a deal worth approximately £38 million before he looks for another hard tackling midfielder.
If Wenger does manage to seal the Morata deal, it would mean two notable signings for Arsenal so early in the transfer window. But if he is to capitalise on the Manchester clubs and Chelsea’s rebuilding processes, Wenger needs to add another central defender and a defensive midfielder to further bolster his ranks for a title challenge.
Too often, Wenger’s side have capitulated at important moments in past seasons. Against his ethos of fancy football, Wenger needs leaders in his team with a winning mentality, which last season’s team was bereft of at times. Fill the aforementioned positions with proven international players and the Gunners could well be favourites to win the Premier League this coming season.