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.
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.