Improved, but far from perfect. Has a tendency to switch off during matches, mistimes tackles and is often oblivious to approaching danger. If Granit Xhaka had a school report for his time at Arsenal since his transfer in 2016, he might well be grounded by his parents and privately labelled a disappointment.
The expectation of the Swiss midfielder has never been realised for whatever reason. He has never really found his place in the side or worked his way into the affection of the fans.
Granit Xhaka has occasionally provided glimpses of a gifted and creative midfielder, but has then quickly reverted to become the type of a player that appears content to regularly deliver steady, average or poor performances to the detriment of his team.
As frustrations go, Granit Xhaka pushes a fan close to their own limits. The fact is that a decent game here and there isn’t a good return on the £35m investment. Stories indicating that the former Borussia Monchengladbach player may be subject to a £45m bid from Inter Milan, is quite frankly, exciting news for Xhaka and the Arsenal fans.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) May 25, 2016
Somewhere, someone is thinking ‘but he’s better now Torreira is at Arsenal !’ and that’s something I don’t dispute but is ‘better’ what we need?
During the latter stages of Wenger’s reign, Arsenal often settled for functional players rather than exceptional, hence the purchases of Shkodran Mustafi, Callum Chambers, Carl Jenkinson, Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka.
The list could go on and Arsenal’s ability to purchase quality players dwindled in the Frenchman’s final ten years with only the odd purchase viewed as a success.
Xhaka is a purchase that promised much but delivered little. He compliments other players occasionally, hits a scorcher from outside the box and at times looks in the mood, but after three years in an Arsenal shirt, he is still an underachiever.
I’ll be brutally honest, if Milan actually offered £45m for the Swiss international. I’d count the money and laugh all the way to the bank and perhaps for an hour or more after that.
Wenger struggled to make him into a defensive midfielder. Emery has accommodated him in the same role because he is not good enough to be placed in his preferred position of midfield.
There are some that think he is under appreciated, misunderstood and that he is the most undervalued midfielder in the Premier League. I’m not in that club.
Some will argue that during Xhaka’s absence, Arsenal were not as solid and lost games that they should have won but that’s a wild assumption.
On those occasions, the side was generally poor and had Xhaka been available, he’s not the type of player that is able to turn a game around single handedly.
The truth is that Arsenal fans have grown to accept average players or those able to perform on a one dimensional level.
In the summer, Emery will dismantle the first team in quite brutal fashion and there will be high profile personnel in search of a new home including Granit Xhaka.
If no offers come in and Granit Xhaka stays, he may be used more as a squad player, especially if Emery secures the services of another natural DM. Contracted until 2023, Xhaka’s value is virtually assured in the transfer market and will add to Emery’s war chest.
Perhaps it hasn’t all been Xhaka’s fault.
Maybe the team in general wasn’t good enough to support him and the position he was asked to play in was out of his comfort zone.
However, he is an established international and surely at his age and with his experience, he should make a better go of things.
Along with Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi, Granit Xhaka is one of the most divisive players in the current Arsenal side. At times he looks assured, impressive, even commanding, at other times incapable, naive and ordinary.
For all the talk of Ozil’s inconsistencies, Granit Xhaka is exactly the same as the wayward German. If one needed to go, it would always be Xhaka for me.