Alex McLeish insists Granit Xhaka will be a great loss to Arsenal as the Switzerland captain begins a spell on the sidelines.
The midfielder has become a mainstay in the Arsenal team since Mikel Arteta convinced him not to leave the club at the start of 2020.
Not every Arsenal fan still trusts him, especially because he is always prone to collecting a red card in a game, but he remains influential and pivotal in how Mikel Arteta sets up his team.
Former Scotland manager McLeish says he knew people wanted Xhaka out of the Arsenal team, but Arteta is convinced he needs him and has justified that.
His departure opens up a chance in the team for summer signing Albert Sambi Lokonga to play regularly, but McLeish maintains that Xhaka’s absence would be an enormous blow to Arteta’s plans.
He told Football Insider: “For a wee while there were people asking questions, should Arteta be playing Xhaka?
“That was because of his red cards, there was some poor decision making for such an experienced guy.
“But obviously Arteta kept faith in him and knew what he could bring in other parts of his game.
“Once or twice he possibly went through a wee bad spell and he’s come through for Arteta.
“That will be a huge blow for him. He has been through the bad times, people thought Xhaka would be leaving or dropped, he’s come through that.
“That tells you Arteta has executed a good strategy.”
The club’s fans will hope Sambi Lokonga will take his chance and ensure they don’t miss Xhaka while he is away.