Granit Xhaka is basically (not officially) first Arsenal signing of the season. Its a good start to transfer window for Arsenal comparing to last season, when Arsenal failed to buy an outfield player. Given that Arsenal paid a lot of money for Granit (around £30 million), is Xhaka a good signing for Arsenal?
It was a rather disappointing season for Arsenal. Although finishing second in the league and leapfrogging Tottenham on the final day, the fans were expecting more. They expected Arsenal to win the Premier League, but Arsenal failed to win any trophy. Leicester City won the title (less surprising than people think), and showed just how unpredictable Premier League is!
One could say that Arsenal failure to win any trophy was down to bad summer transfer window, where only Peter Cech was bought. Injuries have long been a problem for Arsenal, and the lack of reinforcements kept Arsenal’s form inconsistent.
Looks like next season is going to be different, given that the first player has been bought even before the transfer window has opened.
Granit Xhaka is a 23 year old Switzerland international of Albanian descent. He is 185 cm tall and weighs about 82 kg. With somehow of a boyish look, and Wilshere’s haircut, Xhaka is more of a defensive midfielder that can dictate games from the back.
Its strange that Arsenal decided to buy another defensive midfielder, given that both Coquelin and Elneny are defensive midfielders. Xhaka is probably not so much of a replacement of the two players, but a reinforcement (a very expensive one), given that Arteta, Rosicky, and Flamini are all leaving Arsenal in the summer.
As it looks, Wenger has decided to buy quality over quantity, which can backfire if injures get to Xhaka. Injuries is something Xhaka has successfully evaded throughout his career, but when players come to Arsenal, weird things start to happen.
Xhaka has scored three goals and had one assists this season. This means that he wasn’t effective in attack. Xhaka greatest strengths, this season, were passes and aerial duels.
Granit was one of the best passers in the Bundesliga, while also very dominating in the air (at least comparing to Arsenal players). One important aspect that Xhaka has, is consistency. He was one of the most consistent players in Bundesliga, which got him into Bundesliga’s team of the season. The only negative that Xhaka has is discipline. He received a lot of yellow and red cards last season, and season before that, and another season before that.
Xhaka looks like a solid player, but he is simply not what Arsenal need. Arsenal had joint second best defense in the league. Arsenal defense was perfectly good for a potential title winners (Leicester City received the same amount of goals). Arsenal main problem was in attack!
Arsenal scored 64 goals, which was the least amount of goals in top four positions this season. You could say that Arsenal failed to win the title because of bad attack, and not due to leaky defense. That’s why signing a defensive midfielder (especially expensive one) is not a priority, but a prolific striker is!
Granit Xhaka could end up as a very good signing for Arsenal, but he most likely won’t be the key player that will bring the desired Premier League title. Arsenal still needs to buy a world class striker, especially due to the fact that Danny Welbeck is going to be out for a big part of next season. Its going to be interesting to see which striker will Arsenal buy, but Wenger might again surprise everyone by buying no one else.