Xhaka’s imminent departure is the perfect time to get a ‘different type’ of midfielder
With every passing day, Granit Xhaka appears a step closer to joining Italian side Roma.
It was not a surprise when reports emerged that new Roma boss Jose Mourinho wanted the Swiss international as his first signing for the Giallorossi.
Granit Xhaka is edging closer to signing for Roma. 🔴 #AFC
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) June 7, 2021
The presence of the 29-year-old has been ever consistent in the starting eleven of Arsenal since his switch, even though the club had four different coaches during that duration. His leadership qualities both off and on the pitch have been clearly much appreciated.
But ‘Granit Xhaka’ is still a topic which divides opinion of the fanbase. While some say he is fundamental to the club’s style of play, others say he is too ponderous when in possession.
Now that the Swiss’ career at North London is coming to a halt, it can give the club a fresh opportunity to recruit a player in a different mold to Xhaka.
The Red and White of London have been linked to Wolves’ Ruben Neves. Albeit a good player and still only 24-year-old, there are a lot of parallels in the Portuguese and Xhaka’s stylistic playing technique.
Both are heavily involved in their team’s buildup. Both have an admirable ability to pick up a man 30 yards away from them. But on the downside, both lack the athleticism to cover large spaces of ground in a short space of time.
However, with Arsenal’s another alternative option in Yves Bissouma, they can get something completely distinct. The Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder, even though is not heavily involved in the team’s buildup, he has a knack of beating his man at the center of the pitch through his dribbling skills.
That can turn out to be handy if the Gunners are trying to break free from a low block. Arsenal can also become more flexible with the acquisition of Bissouma due to his pace and agility.
The Malian can add a pinch of unpredictability at the center of the park for Mikel Arteta, something which has been missing for quite a long time. He can even be deployed as a number eight.
Remember the Invincibles squad when Arsene Wenger posted two highly mobile players in Patrick Viera and Gilberto Silva at the center?
Arsenal have longstanding interest in Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma who is keen on joining the club this summer. Bissouma has instructed his agent Michael N’Cho that he wants to join the Gunners but as of today, no formal offer or contact has been made. [@ChrisWheatley_] #afc pic.twitter.com/Zdb9D6Agk9
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) June 6, 2021
Wenger’s midfield looked complete when he had midfielders who were exceptional passers of the ball. And whose on-the-ball panache was complemented by their off-the-ball movements.
Although Wenger’s tactics were different from current manager Mikel Arteta’s, having two players in Bissouma and Thomas Partey can only help the present squad in becoming more ‘flexibly solid,’ a midfield tango which has been missing at the Emirates Stadium for several years.