Could Granit Xhaka be Arsenal’s most improved player next season?

Every Arsenal fan will tell you that we (still!) are in dire need of a defensive midfielder, and we have already been linked with quite a few of them this summer, with Steven N’Zonzi on top of my list due to his knowledge of Unai Emery’s tactical wishes and also after reading about Emery’s preferred line-up of 4-1-4-1.

If so, and N’Zonzi is given the holding midfield role it will free up Granit Xhaka to be used as a more attacking midfielder alongside Aaron Ramsey. The Switzerland international is much more respected in international circles than he even by Arsenal fans. Just today I have seen the highly respected coach Ottmar Hitzfeld say about his former charge on Blick: “Arsenal is also a top club. If Granit got an offer, then I would trust him at Real or Barcelona too. He could also get his performance there. Granit is a very dominant player. One who draws the game and has no inhibitions.”

“He is very confident and knows what he wants. He can push his teams. Granit sets high standards to the others. That’s why he might be able to tease. But I prefer such players, those who show up on the pitch. ”

So, next season, if he is used in his right position with a clear instruction from the new coach, there is no reason why we may all be flabberghasted at just how much he could improve for us. Exciting times!


For more info you could read “Why Arsenal must not sell Granit Xhaka this summer” by Alfie


  1. gotanidea says:

    Will be interesting to see how Xhaka would perform as a CM, along with another CM beside him and a DM to protect them, in a 4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1 formation:

    Lichtsteiner . Sokratis . Soyuncu . Monreal
    ……………..Ramsey ……… Xhaka
    Malcom …………………………….. Mkhitaryan

    But does this mean Ozil and Lacazette has to go?

    1. jon fox says:

      Xhaka has stunk the place out for the two seasons he has played. Please stop hoping dud players will become world beaters. They won’t! He is one paced, immobile, does not see danger or react to it, does not track back and is one footed. He can find a good long pass only when given time and has a hard shot. Noit anywhere near enough for the money paid. He is an overhyped relative dud. Sell ASAP!

      1. Dalinho says:

        Having Xhaka or a DM is the most important aspect of our team next season bcoz it determines how we play! I would prefer to have a DM and play Xhaka in a 3 Man midfield to see if he can improve by having defensive cover behind him
        But if he still looses the ball and slows the play down by passing sideways and not forward balls then we’re better off getting a proper CM and selling him but I’m afraid Emery will keep Xhaka as the DLP and not buy a DM but instead buy another CM who is good at defending! In home games Xhaka is quit good but away from home we need DMs with counter football so the same problems as last season will occur!
        That’s my favourite set up so far but ozil has always got in the way of a 433 bcoz he floats and the only way ozil and Lacazette fit in is:
        …….. aubameyung…Lacazette
        Honestly we’re gonna need a lot more than that to challenge next season

        1. Dalinho says:

          If I had to put money on it I’d say we gonna look like this
          ………. aubameyung..Lacazette
          Not very exciting

          1. Protiq says:

            Why not 4-1-3-2. this way you can play laca and auba upfront, miki, ozil, Rambo in AM role, let xhaka sit deep and protect defence, all you need good CBs to complement hector and nacho.


            I am not leveraging our current squad you see.

          2. Dalinho says:

            If we do play 4132 and Xhaka is the the last line of defence then we better buy the best back 5 in football lol but I like it tho! Dakonam is a proper fast CB who would stop counters and sokratis is aggressive along with monreal’s and Lichtsteiner’s experience we might get away with it but all I think of is griezmann’s goal in the first leg of Europa semi’s

      2. Stats don’t support what you’re saying. Stop regurgitating garbage from pundits. Xhaka’s actually been one of the most consistent performers for the team last season, he breaks up a lot of plays and brings more defensive solidity than you give him credit for. He makes a lot of key passes too and is highly accurate.

        1. Ozziegunner says:

          jon, I have to agree with Amin and Stephen on Grant Xhaka coming good under Unai Emery, if played in his correct position with a good tall strong DM along side him.

          1. Hayzed says:

            Why can’t you just observe closely.
            Xhaka can’t do anything in DM role and is very poor in an attacking zone. These are his problems:
            1-can’t tackle
            2-not mobile
            3-not flexible
            4-can’t give a decent pass
            5-one legged(can only use his left foot)
            6-gets down easily when he is being tackled.
            So tell me how can he fit in with all these problems.If I am the coach, he will be the very first player to leave.

        2. emeka o says:

          You are right! Am surprised how people discredit this solid player.

    2. John Ibrahim says:

      cant win anything with this team in the first season

      there will be no team work, coordination and communication….

      players need time to adapt

      2nd season maybe there is a chance with the title

      top 3 is definitely possible

      1. JJPawn says:

        LOL! Dream on… City, United and even Liverpool are at another level.

        To just make top four, either the style has to change to a very defensive system with stars manning the back four and being best at not allowing goals.

        Or, the attacking style has to continue with massive spending.

        Neither is going to happen. Arsenal will be top five, maybe four, if Liverpool cash-in or the Spurs have a bad season again.

    3. Kilted Gooner says:

      I personally think it will be Xhaka who makes way if we sign a DM.

      The new DM will play behind Ozil and Ramsey, similar to how Man City play with Fernandinho behind David Silva and De Bruyne.

  2. Phil says:

    There MUST be a formation that allows us to get the best out of Ozil.He needs to play in a free role.He is NOT a wide player.He is NOT a workhorse.He IS a playmaker.Our previous manager never seemed to trust a system that allowed the player to float into space.He needs this manager to trust him in a team set-up that will get the best from him

    1. Ken1945 says:

      He is not a defender either, so that means we have to give him a free role.
      To do this, we must make the defence stronger and with players who are prepared to give Ozil that role.
      Not sure if this what EMERY is going to do, considering the way his team’s are seen to pressure their opponents.
      I’m really hopeful that we can make it work, as I believe Ozil is one or the most creative players in the world.

      1. Ken1945 says:

        Should read as a reply to Phil.

        1. Ozziegunner says:

          Strongly agree that Ozil has to play centrally with at least one strong physical midfielder along side him.

          1. Trudeau says:

            From what I’ve read, Emery likes a high press and width filled by wing backs. I wonder whether Ozil, Ramsey and Mikhitaryan playing a very fluid three behind Aubameyang could work. Backed up by Xhaka and a more defensive midfielder. Ozil starts a lot for the national team on the wing and comes inside. Most of the heavy lifting, pressing could be done by Ramsey and Mikhi but Ozil would have to take his shift.

            Ozil/Webeck Ramsey/Iwobi Mikhi/Nelson
            Xhaka/Elneny DM/AMN
            Monreal/Kolasinic Socratis/Mavraponas Mustafi/Chambers Bellerin/Lichtsteiner

      2. ClassyGunner says:

        Ken and Phil,
        Am sure a good manager will always tweak his systems and strategies to take advantage of an exceptional talent at hand. And I think Emery is a good manager.

        1. Phil says:

          So do I-I’m sure he will want to get Ozil performing and will know that to do this he needs to tighten us up at the back and in midfield.Emery is entitled to a bit of time.I honestly don’t believe there is too much wrong that can’t be fixed quickly.We need a CDM and CB (or two)and immediately we have addressed the problem areas.I personally would stick with Cech and Martinez/Macey for next season and blow our budget (whatever it is) on sorting out the defence and midfield.If Emery thought the job was impossible he would not be here.It isn’t the poisoned chalice he has taken over.We are the SIXTH best Club in the Premiership.The reason we were sixth is our embarrassing away record of last season.Improve that and we are Top 4.It is not beyond this squad to at least achieve that.

    2. Arsene is Out says:

      Ozil plays best with two defensively astute midfielders behind him such as in the German National team with Kroos and Khedira. Unfortunately we dont have those type of players at the moment. Ramsey and Xhaka wont do for that role. Maybe ElNeny can be one and then a good strong DM like Nzonzi to partner him. Or maybe can get Ramsey and Xhaka to learn to play D a little bit. Then either one with Nzonzi would also work behind Ozil,

      1. Ken1945 says:

        Arsene is out,
        And that is what I am implying and hope the new manager does.
        Ozil is a world class player if the team plays to his talents.
        I also believe that,given the right signings, this squad of players can become a top four act as a minimum requirement.
        No need for wholesale change, just the right experienced signings in the defensive area of the team.

  3. ArseOverTit says:

    Ozil needs to step up and turn up every game like they all do on their kings ransomes.

    Xhaka is an ok player nothing more imo. There are far better in his role but can we afford them.

  4. Ddog says:

    Ozil doesnt deserve half the stick he gets, Arsenal looked sooooo much better when he was on the pitch. Remember when he had that spell on the sidelines, Arsenal played like a team finishing in the bottom half of the table. Who knows how he works under Emery but under Wenger he was the lifeblood of that Arsenal team, without him we were unwatchable, seriously! When Ozil didn’t play I struggled to stay interested in 90mins of Arsenal football.

    1. Xtian says:

      That’s very true. I believe all that is needed is for players to get better & instructions from their manager.

      Xhaka is a phenomenal player, Ozil is Arsenal greatest player. I will have them in my team all time throughout.

      Who would choose Nzonzi when he was at Stoke City. He developed under Emery, why not give Xhaka and Ozil the benefit of doubt.

      1. Declan says:

        Yes, we’ll said Xtian, Emery will hopefullyput his stamp on the team quickly.

  5. Jah son says:

    Ozil sticks are for not showing more passion that’s all every player in the past four years all said they were attracted by either Arsene Wenger or Mesut Ozil

  6. Randomgunner says:

    Xhaka is much more a liability than asset.
    He’s so often passing the ball to the opposition in own half and alnost every game making at least one idiotic, potential yellow card foul. If he can correct that he can become mediocre cm, but he’ll still be : “ paced, immobile, does not see danger or react to it, does not track back and is one footed” midfielder, as Jon Fox stated…and it baffles me that acording to some sources Arsenal are ready to let Wilshere go to West Ham, some are more than willing to see Ozil sold, and on the other hand have faith in Xhaka…
    F#@k me if I get it.

  7. John Ibrahim says:

    Bellerin on the bench will see him forcing his way out of the club and hence we need to sign a new right back as well..

    1. How will Bellerin force his way out of a contract with over 4 years remaining? He will have no option but to sit on the bench for at least a year now. I don’t know why Wenger never considered it but, he should have benched him and put Kolasinac there as did Mourinho with Azpilicueta..converting him from a LB to a RB. In my opinion allowing Bellerin to be the only RB at the club was why he started putting in the kind of shift he felt like on the day. Though maybe they tried Kolasinac on the right in training and it failed..can never know. Anyways, Bellerin and Xhaka had it easy..guaranteed spot on the team come rain come shine.

      1. John Ibrahim says:

        we do not know what the terms of the contract was….

        Bellerin can personally hand in a letter of transfer request and do a Dembele and rebel if he wish….

        it is never easy to bench a quality player….

  8. Jeremy says:

    I think the most important positions of DM and Centre Backs are still not filled.

    We can have loads of brilliant players in front…But…Without proper DM and Centre Backs, nothing will work.

    The truth is we can’t defend properly.

    1. Ozziegunner says:


  9. If we buy a DM and Xhaka stays it will mean he will be our CM. That would imply he is the Cazorla replacement which is a joke as we all know he can’t produce the same quality of football. We must replace Cazorla with an equally talented player and sell one of El Neny or Xhaka. Those 2 can’t both remain. Finally of course Mustafi should be the first one to go we can’t forget him. My list of guys to go 1. Mustafi 2. Cech 3. Xhaka/El Neny. Mustafi and Cech should not even be debated.

  10. adi says:

    Y’all was yelling that Ramsey should be sold, last season he was our best player. lol. Even Monreal, was average at best when he arrived. Xhaka actually has qualities to be a pretty good squad player, and most of all,he is a specialist in crosses and pass.

    1. Well said. Fickle Arsenal fans have no clue who or what is good or bad. They just like to hear themselves complain and would destroy their own club to be seen on social media or some sports tabloid somewhere. A pathetic bunch of disgraceful louts. We need fans with solidarity and warrior spirits to act as the 12th man on the pitch, instead we get people who shouldn’t be allowed out of their homes without diapers on.

      1. ArseOverTit says:

        Sounds like you need a diaper if you think someone who has a different opinion to you of a player is a fickle and disgraceful fan. Get off your high horse Sir Pious!;)

      2. Phil says:

        And of course you are the one with “Solidarity and Warrior Spirit” are you?And everyone else who just happened to have the odd moan or two is a “Pathetic Disgraceful Lout”?And of course we are all “Fickle”as well as not knowing what is “Good or Bad” as well aren’t we?And we are all quite happy to “Destroy our Club” as long as we are able to be on a social media site like this one.
        We have had nothing to complain about these last few seasons have we?A Club in a downward spiral.A Manager who had lost his way and was unable to prevent the side suffering embarrassing performances and defeats.We had some of these fans deciding to stand up against the Owner Board and Manager by not attending games and having a half empty Emirates Stadium that was there for all to see.
        Supporters react because they care passionately about their football club.They expected more from the Club,Manager and Players over the last few seasons and were left frustrated and angry at the continual decline we were in.And you feel those supporters deserve criticism?Look at what you wrote.And YOU feel those words are an accurate assessment of Arsenal Fans?Who do not agree with you?
        The point is what is it exactly you are saying?You haven’t offered anything.You have just come on with criticism and nothing else.To me that makes YOU the worst kind of supporter ANY Club can have.Nothing to say worth saying but happy to gob off anyway.Wow;doesn’t that just make you feel important

        1. ArseOverTit says:

          Spot On Phil!

          No opinion himself just belittling others that do.

      3. Sue says:

        Change the record mate, it’s getting boring

        1. Sue says:

          That was to Stephan btw

          1. Ken1945 says:

            Thought you were talking to Phil for a second ?!!
            This forum is for all Gooners and their opinions.
            As a Wenger man, I have been subjected to some fierce criticism and stood up for my views, and (in the majority of cases) answered my critics without belittering them personally.
            You come across as one of those who thinks he knows best and the rest of us are insignificant!
            Truth is friend, you sound like a pompous arrogant person who I shouldn’t really be wasting my time on…so I won’t.

            JON FOX, wherein arst though when I crave your succinct views on this person!?!?

          2. Sue says:

            Haha no not to Phil ??

  11. Ozziegunner says:

    It should always be kept in mind that Arsenal needs a squad capable of competing in the EPL, Europa League and the 2 cup competions. Therefore the whole squad can’t be cleared out, as Arsenal need to cover all first team positions. An improved Xhaka would at the very least provide good cover; he is after all a Swiss International.

    1. Phil says:

      OG-your right.I don’t see too many players leaving this season and I see no reason to sell Xhaka or Mustafi.The Manager will see if he can improve them with coaching and new tactics that might just show a difference in performance levels in them both.
      What we need is a CDM.Xhaka has proved he is not capable of playing that role but it could be he is better suited with one alongside him.Mustafi to be fair has played with zero midfield cover in front of him.To be fair so have the whole defence and GK.
      With a new manager and new tactical formations we will soon know if they are at the level required.Its interesting so many different views are posted with some wanting them both out and others prepared to see what more Emery can get out of them.I believe they will both be here next season and will be playing Carabao and Europa Cup Football If they don’t step up.

  12. Diana says:

    One thing we all forget is some players looked decent or good relative to other team members but ARE NOT quality. For example, there were games when Welbeck was by far the best player on the pitch, same as Ramsey, Ozil and a few games when Xhaka was a king. But how many of them can be consistent abd how many are the type of quality that they have guaranteed starting in any of the top 6 clubs, or should i say 7 because they wouldnt even make the cut at Burnley. Thats why sometimes we fight about who is good and who isnt. I am however a little lost when people are more than happy to give Xhaka a chance, whose mistakes directly lost us games and not Wilshere whose mistakes only lost us possession.

    1. Break-on-through says:

      Ramsey’s all round numbers stacked up against most everyone who played in a similar position. He did have a very good season not because others were so sh*t, he had no real competition for player of season because others were so poor, there’s a difference. Just because you want to stick by what you’ve said from the beginning. Ozil did have a good season, he had a bad end of season but on average he done good in creating chances. Welbeck had a small few games were he looked good, almost every player going will have had that, in part. Nobody would say Danny looked good over a season, not even a lengthy spell. I think you’re misconstruing things to your belief. Chambers is one were your argument holds up to a degree. I think he showed improvement and I stand by that. But I also feel every CB in there made it so that Chambers stood out. He did improve his passing, his decision making, and he talked more. But it might’ve been less noticeable if the other hadn’t of completely stank the place up.

    2. Ken1945 says:

      Agree with you regarding the inconsistency regarding our team last year, especially away from home.
      I blame the players for that however, not the manager or coaching staff.
      How we could have been so awful against Forest, then days later showed Chelsea how-to control a game is beyond me.
      That is why we have to give the new set up a chance to evaluate every player and decide if they fi into THEIR plans.
      Meanwhile,they are signing experienced internationals to help our younger players.
      We can speculate and name individuals each of us want, but it’s the new broom that sweeps clean.
      Great days ahead as far as I am concerned.

      1. Ken1945 says:

        Should have added, that is why the club employed the new team, so let’s sit back and enjoy the ride!!

        1. Sue says:

          I’m buckled in ready….. ?

  13. Grandad says:

    Xhaka and Mustafi as a package must rank as Wenger’s worst buys given the £70m outlay.Xhaka is a decent player but unfortunately his lack of mobi!ity,speed and defensive nous is there for all to see.I very much doubt if he will improve under our new Manager but I hope i,m proved wrong.

  14. Musa says:

    Hi guys , I think emery will go with 4141 system if we bought someone like doucore of Watford . which means xhaka would sit behind s four midfield of Ramsey doucoure ozil and mhki with auba as a striker and the back four would be lichsteiner papadopolous mstafi and moneal

  15. Jim wall says:

    ……………..New goal keeper………
    Bellerin…..New cb..New cb….sead


  16. Break-on-through says:

    Admin, allot wont agree but I think that’s a good shout. Reason I think it is because we’ve seen Granit’s brute nature add a bit of toughness to CM but his decision making and his timing undone it all. If he has someone else who acts like a fifth defender and others who are more mobile then Granit can concentrate on adding toughness and height as well as practicing more on forward plays. He is awkward to tussle with if you haven’t got a chance to open up your legs, with someone else to beat besides Xhaka he might just become a very good defender compared to other players in a similarly advanced role. But he’ll have to really work at it, lose some extra fat and get a little leaner.

  17. John0711 says:

    You heard it hear first
    Xhaka will Never be decent he lacks far to many basic techniques to improve to a level that’s required in the prem
    And mustafi lacks heart no one can give him that

    1. Ackshay says:

      Yes Xhaka can be good under the right system and team but he will not at arsenal as he lacks the basics need like quick reaction both mentally and physically cannot really run with the ball if under pressure. Mustafi lacks heart is a joke, the guy would jump in front of every shot and tackles anywhere in the box. I would say mustafi has too much heart and lacks the brain to choose when not recklessly tackle and defending on his feet. He can be fixed if coached right by emery while a dont think xhaka can.
      Xhaka would look good in mou man utd with matic by his side and their no creativity, slow passing and defence 1st gameplan.

      1. John0711 says:

        Is this the same heart that made him fake injury after making a mistake

  18. A.ball08 says:

    I can not see Grant Xhaka ever improving for us.
    His stats suggest He a lot of touches and doesn’t Give the ball away much but in reality the passes are sideways and backwards with no real penetration.
    In my opinon. A very poor signing for us considering what was out there at the time. Chelski picked up a world class player for less money and a player we had desperately needed for many a year.
    Sell him. Try and recover some monies and move on
    Anyone agree on this?

  19. Dboy says:

    I think it unfair when people just condemn almost the whole Arsenal players as not being good to play in any of the so called top six clubs. If I should ask: Bar De gea how many Man U players is actually a world beater that you would take in a jiffy to Arsenal. The Same With chelsea etc. I am willing to give Emery a chance so to see what he can do with our squad before writing off anybody.

  20. Oldhighburytommy says:

    Agree with the points that show Xhaka won’t cut it.

    Sell Xhaka, Mustafi, Eleny and Campbell for a total of 50 mill and bid for a class deep midfielder like Tolisso or Jorgino..
    Then him and AMN cover that position..

    Spend the other 40 mill of our transfer budget on Ben Pavard or Soyuncu.

    A new keeper means selling Iwobi, Ospina and Welbeck and Holding to raise another 50 mill.

    Squad would be thin till xmas but we would have very decent side.

  21. ruelando says:

    I had discussed the Xhaka situation several years ago, when he was going to be bought that he was not a DM, even at my workplace there was a long discussion about the situation at the time we had Cazorla and Coquelin doing a remarkable job in the center of the park and in truth probably one of the best pairing in the midfield that season. Then arrived Xhaka for the new season fans here raved about him, not Wenger alone, some even bad mouth Coquelin. The manager than gradually got Coquelin out the starting line up due to injure to Cazorla and love for Ramsay.

    I also pointed out that Coquelin was the only DM we had in the squad, Chambers i think could have been made into one and Beilik just was not giving time, forced to become a CB.

    I can therefore say Xhaka playing in the Swiss team or his past teams he actually had DM playing along with him, our problem is we have been playing Xhaka with box to box midfielders, therefore he has a heavier load to carry in an arsenal team.

    If is now left to see how emery can get the best out of the players we have, if we get a Dm that will be a Major change in arsenal

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