In the wake of recent rumours regarding Granit Xhaka and his potential move to Arsenal, as well as the leaked photos picturing him in an Arsenal kit at the Emirates stadium, we have decided to take a closer look at the Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder whose recent rise to prominence has been nothing short of incredible.
Granit Xhaka started his professional career in Basel, as he debuted at the tender age of 17, playing in a central midfield position. The youngster quickly impressed and soon enough a plethora of elite clubs lined up their interest as they looked to sign him on a cut-price deal. However, the intelligent youngster opted to join the lesser known Borussia Monchengladbach, where he would be guaranteed playing time and a friendly, German-speaking atmosphere.
Now, looking back, it’s only fair that we say he made the right decision, since his progress over the last four years at Borussia has been simply outstanding. It’s no wonder elite clubs are once again courting Xhaka ahead of another summer transfer window.
However, Arsenal fans who have been begging their club to sign a defensive midfielder ahead of the next season will be disappointed to hear that Xhaka is not your typical defensive midfielder. It is, nevertheless, worth noting that although Xhaka has generally played in a more central midfield position, his main attributes are primarily defensive—after all, he is well-known for his combative style of play and tackling prowess.
Aggression can sometimes get the better of him and he has consequently had several disciplinary problems during his stay with Die Fohlenelf, but even that might prove to be a positive trait if Arsenal is truly considering to sign him. It is common knowledge that the English Premier League referees usually allow more aggressive plays in comparison with their European counterparts and if we take into account the fact that Arsene Wenger’s teams have often been accused of lackluster performances in the past, they might be looking for a player who can bring in a fresh burst of energy.
Nonetheless, it was probably Xhaka’s composure in possession and his keen eye for final-third passes that caught the attention of Arsenal in the first place. Although he might not have the assists to prove it—he has only registered two this year—Xhaka boasts impressive passing stats, regularly attempting and completing more passes (around 85 percent) than most of his Bundesliga compatriots.
Still, the Swiss midfielder might not walk into the Arsenal lineup as easily as he would like, despite his hefty rumored price tag (reportedly more than €35m). Arsenal boast riches of talent in the midfield area even without the out-going Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta, which means that Xhaka will face stiff competition from Francis Coquelin, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla.
In the end, we simply have to conclude that Xhaka and Arsenal seem like a match made in heaven; but, as always, we will have to wait and see whether everything goes according to the plan for both the player and the club.
About the author – Dusan Lucic
Dusan has been writing sports-related articles for 5 years and has a keen interest in the Premier League, Bundesliga and Serbian SuperLiga. He has previously written for Bleacher Report, Arena Sport, Sportal and the News Hub. He is currently studying Serbian language and literature at the University of Belgrade.