The Inevitable Departure of GX34 is Upon us and I Know Who to Blame

How many games has Granit played on average since his arrival? A whopping 44 my friends. Five seasons in which his lowest total was 40 and his highest 48. Every manager loved and played him, yet he remained marmite among the fanbase.

Misunderstood, mis-appreciated, and unloved by too many, Granit Xhaka.

His bones and muscles are those of a workhorse, his brain has the overview of an eagle and his left leg is as swift and deadly as a jaguar. He always gave his all and wore the shirt with pride. But it was obvious that UK/USA supporters especially were judging him mostly on his lack of speed and the relatively few mistakes he made. Many fans projected their wider Arsenal frustration onto him, and I have found this one of the most disappointing and shameful things of being a Gooner.

Now the rumours have started that Granit is looking to leave and Roma (now managed by the self-celebrating one) are apparently very interested in him. Granit will be 29 in September and he knows that he can make one more significant move.

I don’t like to take these rumours seriously but am still expecting Xhaka to want to move on. And who would blame him? Granit is a European-style midfielder and should never have come to the UK. Midfielders in the Premier League, especially the deeper laying, ‘DM’ ones, need to be both athletes and tanks to be appreciated here. Yet every team needs a Xhaka to organise things and look after the tactics and structure of the team; and I have no doubt that he would have looked good in every other PL team, had he gone there. Unfortunately, only a minority of Gooners saw this and his fate in the UK was always going just one way.

The supporters never loved him and he will be dreading to start playing again in front of a (half) full Emirates. So, although I would be gutted to see him leave, I feel in my bones he will. Why would he stay here if he can go to Europe, be appreciated there and finish his career on a high? Wouldn’t you?

You will get your wish sooner or later, Xhaka-haters. It will be a sad day for me when it happens, but nothing I didn’t expect.

By TotalArsenal.

44 thoughts on “The Inevitable Departure of GX34 is Upon us and I Know Who to Blame

  • Wow, who is this amazing player you speak of?

    Because that isnt the player I’ve seen since his arrival

    Xhaka, like Ozil, was a Wenger vanity project. Over priced and totally unsuited to the PL.

    He usnt a vmcreative hub, or a defensive wall, or a mobile all action goal scoring midfielder.

    He is simply not good enough and I hope the rumours are true.

    You can wax lyrical all you want. It dont make it true.

  • Just a few days ago the player himself played down on rumors of his potential exit stating, among other things, that he had a whopping two years of contract left; and that he and his family were settled and happy in London.
    I know things can quickly change in football as in life generally. But I can’t see Arteta being in a hurry to let Xhaka leave. He has grown to be an “ever present” in the squad except when carrying an injury
    I too would like him to stay, at least for another season. Too many changes to the spine of the team isn’t the best as we move into a defining season next

  • Cheers Dexter, I appreciate your point of view and it underlines the premise of the post. You either see or you don’t and there is very little that can be done about it.

  • Cheers Mr Corporate,

    I hope that is true. I really do. If you add it all up it should be true but I just have a feeling that he will want to be appreciated back in Europe again.

  • Who writes this nonsense? He always has been & always will be a liability. Yes, he can spray a few balls around given time, but he can’t run, can’t dribble & most of all can’t tackle & as a season ticket holder, I don’t know anyone other than the author of this who says any different. Also Roma’s average attendance is about 30000 in a 70000 seater stadium.

  • He cannot run? Nonsense.

    He cannot dribble? He is not that sort of midfielder and it is not asked of him.

    He cannot tackle? Have you been watching him at all?

    You know Niall, with you saying this you clearly demonstrate that you are totally missing the point of what Granit brings to the team. You either see or you don’t. I bet you were one of those STH who booed him. If so, shame on you.

  • One question to all the Xhaka haters – who do you see in the current squad incl those out on loan that can play in his place week in week out and do better? Yes he deserved the stick he got back in 19 and we paid too much for him when we should have bought Kante but he has performed since but just couldn’t get past the stigma of the past. I for one will be sorry to see him leave because I have exactly zero faith that Edu and Richard will replace him with Better or that we have better in house.

  • Andrew, good question and point. Xhaka executes and coordinates the team tactics for the game. This is vital for the manager and when he does not play we always seem to miss alignment in the team, as if the foundation in the house has become unstable. I think Partey can play this role too, but he is still getting used to the intensity of the PL. It is a no brainer to keep both Xhaka and Partey, use Elneny regularly and get a young and talented fourth deeper midfielder this summer.

  • TA you know I have never been a fan of Xhaka. I never quite understood what he added to the team. He made quite a few mistakes, although in his defence he seemed to have improved upon that this season. Although he made mistakes in both Burnley games which cost us dearly. He very rarely scores. I could go about his heading etc, but what I was going to say that in his last game against Brighton, I thought he had a terrific game. If he played like that every week I would be his biggest fan.

    I certainly don’t hate the guy, leave that for the likes of Cashley , RVP, Gallas etc. I wish I’m well .

    Congrats on the new dog by the way.

  • Xhaka OUT! Arteta OUT! Krooenke OUT! That would be a Revelation! A Resurrection even! Hallelujah!

  • I am between a rock and a hard place (between Granit and a spud’s head?) about him. His heart is 100% in the Arsenal camp and his family does like being in the UK. He is 29, which for a midfielder is the age one can expect to see the best of him and he is showing more and more leadership as well. I don’t believe he actually cares about what others say about him after the 2019 debacle with fans and Emery, so personally I don’t give a gnat’s ass what plastic fanboys whine about and when they diss him it simply shows their ignorance of what a holding midfielder like him is needed for and does well. I believe he’ll stay and help the young midfielders like Odegarrd, Bukayo, Partey and his best partner El-neny to create a solid AFC midfield.

  • Cheers Retsub, he played a different role v Brighton and yes he was very effective.

    Thanks for the puppy wishes. He is, a hand full but gorgeous and lovely.

  • OMG, I think he really cares. Granit is a proud and sensitive Mann, hence his reaction when he was vilely booed off the pitch. Emery totally mismanaged the aftermath and the rest is history.

    I hopeyou are right though.

  • No he can’t run. Have you ever watched him? That’s why he’s always getting yellow cards for pulling people back & being able to tackle is quite important for a midfield player. Also I never booed him at the Palace game, but I’ll certainly cheer when he leaves & I’d rather be in an half empty stadium with supporters, than a full one with lots of AFTV morons.

  • Mikel Arteta, on Granit Xhaka, days after he arrived Arsenal from Man City: When I was going from Arsenal to City to start coaching and we were looking in that position, he was one of the players on my list,” This is how much I liked him. I was happy when Arsenal signed him because I thought he was going to be a terrific player.”

    Arteta, upon getting Xhaka to remain at the club and playing again:
    “He has done some really good things and now he has got stuck in a very difficult situation that, I think, was growing and growing and growing and one day it exploded. But I have been amazed as well by how this relationship [with the supporters] is starting to come back a little bit and I think the fans have been very very positive about him, and him as well”.​

    “Obviously it is difficult to change completely the scenario from where he was to a magnificent one. But I think we are in the right direction with him”.
    The above is enough for me. Granit is a most underrated player at Arsenal, the reason I would equally not begrudge him his decision to leave, should he choose to so do. The cues are how every manager, from Wenger, Emery to Arteta and the Swiss manager find him undroppabke when fit. We also miss him when he doesn’t play; for me, no way would Villareal have eliminated us in that semi-final had he not copped an injury during warm up. That’s how valuable he is to this side. But many won’t get it. If he does leave, we shall have to ensure we replace with an upgrade or have to change our usual tactical outlook. There will be some shift just to accommodate his absence.

  • I’ve not read the post yet but just glancing at a few of the comments I can see that there’s ‘trouble at mill’

  • I would always be civil, unless you’re from AFTV & it may be less important, but it’s still a skill a good midfield player has & quite frankly he has or is neither.

  • Total,
    Xhaka is one of the few players that Arteta has been able to depend on and has had his best season at Arsenal.

    It’s a shame that a few neer do wells came crawling out of the holes.

  • I recall a number of occasions being frustrated with Granit’s ill discipline and poorly timed tackles. He undoubtedly cost us points, and could well do with another yard of pace. But, as noted above he has also been recognized by Arsene, Unai and Mikel as a vital cog. I agree with Eris that Xhaka’s injury was a major factor in our loss to Villa Real, and with OMG that 29 is an age where a midfielders game still has legs and also distilled positional sense and game management nous. Interesting to note that he was recognized as Arsenal’s best performer earlier in the season by the CIES Football Observatory crew. He has been an outstanding performer for the Swiss national team, which would offer weight to Total’s consideration of him as a player for other European leagues. He would do well in the slower Serie A and, despite Covid life in Italy has its attractions. If he stays I think we will see a season of the best of him. If he goes, I wish him every blessing. His screamers against Liverpool, Manure and Newcastle, nestle him securely into a corner of a chamber of my red and white heart.

  • A very loaded comment, Stuart Noel Angus. Love it.

    As a deep lying midfielder, he did chip in with his fair share of goals (13) and assists (17) and its not as if anyone really expected much from him on that count. He probably will rate high on the Pre-pre assist stat because he does get involved in moves leading to goals for Arsenal.

    He is also greatly involved in the not so visible stuff for the team; a ball block here, a gentle body check there, uncompromising contest for the ball at other occasions and some crucial (innocuous) tackles, when the CBs are out of it. He deserves some respect.

  • Well put, Stuart. If you play 44 games a season you will make a few bad tackles, I reckon. Glad to know he occupies a corner in your generous heart.

  • Hes simply not cut out for the PL.

    Hes slow, lacks mobility, defensively lacking, poor decision making and doesn’t contribute to the creative side of the team. But apart from that hes amazing! 🤣❤

    In terms of who can play in midfield instead of him? Who knows! Thars not the point. Weve had Xhaka for 5 years and hes been shite throughout.

    Hes hardly a Gilberto, who loads of Gooners hated and didnt rate until after he left. We wont miss the Swiss if he left.

  • I think that when Xhaka was playing in Wenger teams and Emery teams that he was not coached properly and played in teams that lacked structure, it’s why he made mistakes because our midfield was a shambles and when you’re in those kinds of stressful situations and as the captain you compensate by lunging in to rescue the team and instead it goes wrong.

    Since Arteta has come in he’s had his best 18 months in an Arsenal shirt and the first thing Arteta did when he could was bring in Partey to help Granit. Xhaka puts the team first even if it’s at his expense and I can think of a few we’ve had at Arsenal in the last 3 years who wouldn’t do that.

  • TA, fair post on Xhaka I just say that i have mixed feelings when I read the rumour. Xhaka has been ever present this season playing all games and atleast in two positions. Just for the availability aspect he is a valuable asset. On the other hand he is a perfect player for someone like Mou. So if he goes to Roma he will be excellent no doubt.
    With respect to Arsenal we would be missing a permanent guy in the midfield. I have two problems with this deal. The figure quoted is not good enough. If we sell him it shouldn’t be for less than 30m. We are talking about a 28 yr old continental style midfielder, with excellent injury record, two years left on the contract and just this season voted into the best 11 of premier League. So nothing less than 30 M will do. Second point is who are we going to replace him with. Mind you because of ACN we need a pair of midfield base who will play around 10 games together during ACN ( Jan and Feb). Currently in our team atleast one was guaranteed which was Xhaka. If we sell Xhaka we have none. So it a crucial decision and if it’s down to me I wouldn’t sell. He can go next summer though.

  • Madhu, really good point about the ACN. Hadn’t thought about it until now. The big issue I have is with the home fans. They could make a longer stay impossible.

  • TA, lot of material is being written with lots of transfer roumer coming out which doesn’t make any sense. Everyone seems to miss out on ACN and Olympics as next season disrupters. Every transfer decision that Arteta makes will need to take the above disrupters into consideration. Filling midfielders who will go to ACN for 6 weeks in the middle of the season is a non starter. So if we buy Bissouma then we will have 3 midfielders who will leave for ACN. Partey, Elneny and Bissouma. So we I’ll have to buy someone to partner Xhaka at the base or promote willock/AMN for this role. Iam assuming that we will have ESR and Ode/Buendia/Barge etc as no 10. So all these roumer about African players partnering Partey is a non starter as we will have to look for alternatives and we may not have enough finance.

  • Xhaka walked off the pitch when he was substituted agaimst Crystal Palace. We needed 3 points, the fans were frustrated and here he is walking…walking. Errors on both sides, but I understand the fan’s frustration. I was too and I even said aloud, to myself, “why the f@@@ is he walking?” RUN. Further fan abuse was completely uncalled for.

    I love watching him play and I will miss someone of his profile, patrolling the midfield. Busquets, Rodri, Kimmich and Kroos are my favourite players to closely watch during a match. That being said…

    He will be more suited to Serie A, La Liga, or even Bundesliga play. He will truly flourish once again on the continent. The play is just that notch slower. Not worse. Just different.

  • Good stuff, Milo.

    The fans had been booing Granit during the game and Emery made a bad call to put the blame on him by subbing him in that game. The fans booed him v hard from the moment the substitution was called, and I would just like Xhaka have walked off the pitch. It was a pride thing.

  • Fair enough. I watch many matches with the audio off, so if he was singled out by the fans for abuse, he was well within his rights to trudge off.

    We need someone who can hold a midfield 3 together. I want to see that, anyway. I wish Xhaka could have been that and if we do get someone else, ideally, we need them to possess Xhaka’s good qualities.

    Is there someone??? Don’t know. Ruben Neves comes to mind. Maxence Caqueret could definitley do a job in tandem with Partey in a 4-2-3-1. I like Bissouma, but I don’t know if he can pass well enough. Between him and Soumare, Soumare is the better passer. Looks like he’s off to Leicester though. Bruno Guimaraes also looks the part. Teun Koopmeiners could be an option too. Don’t know if he’s mobile enough. Same could be said of Neves and then we’d have the whole scapegoating thing all over again.

    Fast(er/est) isn’t always best, but in the premier league, if you don’t have the highest quality, such as a Rodri, Xabi Alonso, Pirlo, Kroos, etc, as a deeper midfield player, you will find trouble. Xhaka, for all his positives, isn’t of their level and so he finds it difficult at times to perform mistake free matches. The slower the player, the smaller the margin for error, especially in the Premier League and Bundesliga. High press leagues are trouble, for a player of Xhaka’s makeup.

  • Just watched the Brentford vs Swansea game and the Swansea right back caught my eye, according to the commentators he’s only 20 but he looked like a young version of Tierney, never stopped working for the team. Roberts is the name, but my point is that he’s the profile of player I’d like to see us targeting, not some 30 year old looking for one last big pay day. When done Brentford.

  • Xhaka has been our iron man. I have been plenty critical, but more about Wenger and others having him too far forward…. instead of shielding and distributing, as he did before Arsenal and internationally. Arteta used him more wisely, and I appreciated him more than ever this season. He might want to leave because of lack of appreciation.

  • as for the final, I don’t like Peps lineup. Nobody defensive minded in front of the centre backs. We’ll see, but I much prefer Tuchels setup. More balance and defensive for a big final.

  • Good comment, Milo and some impressive names. We are good with Xhaka at Arsenal, especially at this stage, but I can see him want to leave.

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