You’re already furious having only read the title, aren’t you?
Granit Xhaka’s five-year spell at Arsenal has so far produced enough lunacy to make even Mario Balotelli blush.
Signed by Arsene Wenger for an eye-watering £30m, a fee that represented the Gunners’ third-most expensive transfer of all-time – just take a second to reminisce over the brilliant players to have pulled on an Arsenal shirt down the years before fully digesting that fact – the Switzerland international’s north London career has been littered with on-field mistakes and tantrums.
Coincidentally, 30m is roughly the amount of points he’s cost Arsenal thanks to stupid individual errors and sheer lack of discipline since moving from Borussia Monchengladbach, all of which leads both you and us to ask the question: why the hell do we think they should keep hold of him?
Roma’s refusal to meet the Gunners’ £20m valuation of the temperamental midfielder has seen Mikel Arteta perform a radical U turn, and the club’s hierarchy are now preparing to open talks with Xhaka over a new deal.
First of all we’d like to point out the fact that we’ve not taken complete leave of our senses and had Arsenal been able to recoup £20m for Xhaka then it would have represented a decent bit of business.
However, the fact of the matter is no-one is going to pay £20m for Xhaka on the basis of his performances in an Arsenal shirt – yet that doesn’t have to mean they’re ‘lumbered’ with him so to speak, and right now Xhaka is more valuable to Arsenal than he would be to any other top-flight team.
Maturity has never been a word that springs to mind when discussing the former Monchengladbach man, though his displays towards the back end of last season and with Switzerland at Euro 2020 were as mature as we’ve seen since he secured a move to the Premier League.
His status as a senior figure with the national team more often than not sees him produce his best and most mature football, and this is a role he’s likely to be given next season as Arsenal scour the transfer market for new additions.
Arteta has made no secret of his desire to bolster his midfield this summer, and the majority of the names to have been mentioned – such as Manuel Locatelli, Houssem Aouar and Bruno Guimaraes – have never played in England and are relative youngsters in the game.
It’s clear what type of profile Arteta is looking for when scouring the market, with new additions Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares all either 23 or younger, but there’s a real risk the young talent being brought into the club will be blunted by a lack of senior figures alongside them.
With Thomas Partey continuing to struggle with injuries – with said issues looking like keeping him out of their first few games of the season – the decision to sell Xhaka and subsequently lose one of their most experienced players while trying to integrate so many youngsters into the side would represent a huge gamble.
Not only does Xhaka tick the ‘seniority’ and ‘best option they’ve got’ boxes, there’s also another small issue that has quite literally cost Arsenal many times over the years – finances.
With just two years left on his current deal, Roma are likely playing hard-ball with Arsenal as they know they’ll be forced to sell Xhaka for cheap next summer with just 12 months of his contract remaining.
The Gunners have lost countless first-team players on free transfers over the years, and while Xhaka may not be everyone’s favourite player at the club, at least tying him down to a new deal would negate the need to sell him for a cut-price fee or even worse lose him for nothing in two years’ time.
This is far from the only reason to offer him a new deal – because, let’s be honest, offering every player at the club a new deal just so you don’t lose them for free would be daft even by Arsenal’s standards – but a new contract would afford Arsenal more time to offload Xhaka in the future should they so choose.
But for now we see Xhaka playing a big role at Arsenal next season. If all goes well then their decision to offer him a new deal will look like good business, and if it doesn’t go well they can just look to sell him next summer without being pressured into selling for cheap as he only has 12 months left on his deal.
It sounds too simple and obvious when you put it like that, doesn’t it? Arsenal doing the sensible thing just doesn’t quite feel right.