What does the future hold for Granit Xhaka? (and 3 possible replacements)

What the future holds for Granit Xhaka?

 “After the red card and with the history that he had, he was in a difficult place and we had to try and bring him back where we believe he can be and where he should be – which is being one of the leaders of the team and giving us stability and presence, he can provide to the team and to the club.

“I think since he’s been back, he’s been phenomenal; he’s playing really, really well. Against Palace, he had some important moments and he’s still young. He’s still a player who can evolve. It’s great for us to have him back.” Mikel Arteta was full of praise for Granit Xhaka in the pre-match press conference before their clash against Newcastle United on 19th January. Arteta was not wrong. The midfielder was one of the pioneers who turned the head of Arsenal’s ship in the right direction from the moment the referee blew his whistle in Arsenal’s clash with Chelsea. That win was followed by an unbeaten month in the Premier League, in which the Gunners reduced the gap between them and the top four significantly.

But the question is will Arsenal fans see “Xhaka Boom” next season? Before we ask that question, it’s worth pointing out that the Swiss International has been one of the first names on the starting eleven since his arrival from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016. His place has hardly been in jeopardy (other than that “incident” against Crystal Palace under Emery). But it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he indeed is shown the door come summer 2021.

Apart from the leadership qualities that he brings to the dressing room, Xhaka has also proved to be a catalyst for all the wrong reasons. Discipline when Arsenal are struggling, sloppiness while on the ball and inconsistency have largely plagued his career at Arsenal. That statement will be warranted by the Arsenal fans who have seen more bad than good in the performances of the Swiss International. We, JustArsenal, look at some of the possibilities that could pan out in the summer:

Matteo Guendouzi: The forgotten Arsenal man plying his trade in Germany would be the one to look an eye on. His arrival at Arsenal would the most cost efficient for the Gunners, as he is still under contract at the Emirates. Still only 21, the French youth International is highly regarded across Europe. But if he wants to revive his Arsenal career, he needs to attest Arteta that he can handle himself with more care when the pressure soars. Last season, in a clash with Neal Maupay post-lockdown, he made demeaning comments to his French counterpart in Arsenal’s defeat to Brighton. As a result, Guendouzi was out of the picture at Arsenal with immediate effect. Reports from The Athletic stated that the meeting between him, Edu and Mikel Arteta did not go well, and as a result the Spaniard was not keen to use the young midfielder for the remainder of the season. It turned out more to be a case of Guendouzi losing out on Arsenal and not Arsenal losing out on Guendouzi as the Gunners laid their hands on the FA Cup in an impressive fashion. A year out of the club can do a lot good to a player. Arsenal would hope that the teenager who brought “a breath of fresh air” at the time of his arrival can replicate the same this summer. Only time will tell whether he has transformed from a boy to a man.


Yves Bissouma: Reports in England involving Bissouma whirled all around Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United’s interest in him in the months of December and January. The Malian has been exceptional ever since he moved to England from Lille in France. The midfielder is comfortable with the ball at his feet and is also more than adept in distributing the ball to his teammates.  Bissouma has also got the positional awareness and the nous to step in and disrupt the opposition’s play, while he also boasts the focus needed to battle for 90 minutes as teams look to build pressure and pick the Brighton lock.

This is a player who has countless number of videos on YouTube. The comments are filled with Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal fans fantasizing what would the situation have been if Bissouma was deployed in one of their teams.  One fan even went a bit far by commenting, “I thought I was watching Pogba.” Arsenal fans can expect a player in the mould of Granit Xhaka but with a better shooting and passing accuracy. Last month, in an FA Cup fourth round, the midfielder scored a goal from an astonishing 40 yards out. A similar type of goal was scored against Everton at Goodison Park in October. Graham Potter, the Brighton coach, was quick to praise him by stating that the “best Bissouma can play in the Champions League.” Still only 24-years-old, Bissouma has already established himself in the Brighton squad. His versatile nature will only prove to be more attractive as he can be deployed anywhere among the midfield three. The young midfielder’s emergence to the top of the football pyramid is a question of “when” and not “if.”

Emiliano Buendia: If Arteta needs someone who will complement the game of Thomas Partey, then Buendia might have the spotlights on him. His overall statistics, which we obtained from Fbref.com, are also quite impressive. In the past year, he has made 3.51 tackles, 25.94 pressures, 1.89 blocks, 1.08 interceptions, 66.52 touches, 85.7% successful dribbles, 47.5 carries and 1.89 key passes. Whereas, on the other hand, Xhaka has made 1.55 tackles, 12.21 pressures, 1.48 blocks, 0.53 interceptions, 78.68 touches, 75% successful dribbles, 56.21 carries, and 0.46 key passes. Almost every aspect of the Argentine is better than Granit Xhaka. However, one important detail which we should point out is that Buendia has played the major part of last year in the Championship. Having said that, the pros of replacing Xhaka with Buendia might outnumber the cons. Buendia is more than capable of playing from either wing of the front three. He can also play as a number 8 and 6, if the situation asks for it.


Edu and Arteta must continue overhauling the squad. The transfer business done in the past month was impressive, but Edu needs to carry on the way he has sown the seeds, if he envisages his club, where he played for between 2001 and 2005, to be back to “where it belongs.”

Should that plan include replacing Granit Xhaka?

Yash Bischt

twitter yarsenal09


    1. I suggest you watch Aubameyang’s first goal again on Arsenal’s YouTube channel, because Xhaka was the one who made the through ball to Aubameyang. A right-footed DM would likely hesitate to make such through pass on the left side, because of the angle

      A left-footed DM can pass the ball closer to the left touchline and this ability is very important for our attacking LB/ LW

      1. We are aware of your obsession with right foot, left foot, inverted winger etc etc.

        A good professional should be able to use either foot, almost every Man City player does this very well (barring Mahrez).

        1. Most of the greatest players I know a very single footed. Even at City, I can name players who struggle on their weaker foot. Not a good argument.

      2. City have Rodri, DeBruyne, Gundogan and Sterling all channelling towards the left and none are left footers.

        Liverpool have Henderson, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Keita, all channeling towards Mane on the left. None of them are leftfooters.

        Man Utd have Pogba, Mc Tominay, Bruno all channeling towards Martial or Rashford on the left,.. th3y aren’t leftooters.

        Mount, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic all channel towards Pulisic or Odoi or Werner towards the left,.. they aren’t leftfooters..

        So Got no Idea, you can chill with your left foot nonsense. If you can play ball, you can play ball.. and should be able to make smart decisons on the pitch with your passes.

        Note that all these teams still outscore us season after season.

      3. That’s a good point gotanidea! Arsenal have some tough decisions to make in the summer. But they should not be afraid to sell important players in their squad. They have made that mistake far too often.

      4. That’s a good point gotanidea! Arsenal have some tough decisions to make in the summer. But they should not be afraid to sell important players in their squad. They have made that mistake far too often.

  1. I would definitely go for Bissouma. As much as Xhaka has been playing well recently when we come up on teams that set up the front 2 and 2 banks of 4 against us we seem to have no answer. What we need are midfielders with the ability to dribble and beat his marker, and therefore “break the lines” . This gives the defenders who are marking other players a decision to make. Do they step in and try to help or leave the dribbler to have a shot on goal? Also, the positional awareness that Bissouma shows is not always seen in Xhaka as we have witnessed so many times. For me Arsenal have to be ruthless, I would take the money for Xhaka, sell Elneny bring back Guendozi and buy Bissouma.

  2. It depends what positions aresnal prioritize during the summer. Because so many need revamping. Striker, RB, creative player (if we arent signing Odegaard permantely), and CDM. We never seem to get everything we want in one transfer window, and money is tight all around Europe at the moment, so it’s possible Xhaka stays a starter one more season.

    1. Also, i doubt we are keeping Ceballos. If that is the case there are youngsters like Azeez who should get a chance. I hope Arteta doesnt sleep on some of the young talent we have. Give them a chance and they can shine like ESR and Saka are doing right now.

    2. Bissouma and Partey in midfield. Power, power and more power. Those two can dominate any midfield in the world

  3. Ive said it here more often, but my pick has to be Locatelli. Still young, but so composed on the ball and very good defensively too. Read somewhere that he will cost somewhere between 20-30m

  4. Guendouzi and Bissouma can’t replace Xhaka’s effectiveness in the left DM position. Xhaka might look immobile, but his positioning and forward passes along the left touchline are essential in a double pivot formation

    Buendia isn’t even a DM. Xhaka’s replacement should’ve been another left-footed DM like Eduardo Camavinga, Mikel Merino or Marc Roca, unless we don’t use a double pivot formation anymore

      1. Rabiot is a tall left-footed DM too, but I don’t know about his work ethic and discipline

        He has collected six yellow cards and one red card in Serie A this season. I also remember about his conflicts with PSG and some coaches, which reminds me of Guendouzi’s attitude

      1. Please see my reply for your first comment above 👆 . There’s an obvious geometrical problem that occured when we fielded two right-footed DMs in a double-pivot formation

        1. On paper, perhaps. However it’s all hypothetical Gandouzi could cover the defensive, 50-50 balls alongside Partey in a roaming role while Buendia would be the ideal go to man, creating spaces for the likes of Tierney, ESR and Saka. Try it and see. As for Rabiot, no thanks. We should avoid players who seem to have been used up and no longer wanted by the likes of Juventus. This should also include Ramsey.

          1. Rabiot used up and no longer wanted?
            Lol.. Rabiot is the most important and undroppable player in Juve’s midfield.
            Watch their games and be sure before dropping misleading comments

          2. Buendia is indeed a very good player. He is still on Arsenal’s list of attacking midfielders they will try to buy in the summer.

    1. Bullsh*t, apart from Artetta himself Xhaka is the worst player Arsenal has ever paid money for. He singly is responsible for dumping us out of the the champions league with a mindless tackle in the penalty box when the Brighton player was going nowhere.
      All you brown noses who continue to praise and laud a player who gets paid over 100,000 quid per week for rolling the ball backwards and sideways and cumm all over yourselves when there’s a rare occurrence of a forward pass know nothing about football. It makes me feel sick to read the verbal garbage spewed out week after week about this nonentity of a player doing what he’s paid for. By the way that clown is not a defensive midfielder and never will be, that’s why Artetta went and bought one to cover for the useless khunt.

  5. Should have been shown the door 2seasons ago … a below average footballer with appalling control no poise and surprisingly little power .. occasional killer pass and even more occasional strike on goal can’t hide his overall lack of quality … will be delighted to see back of him

  6. Xhaka slows the game down too much for me. For example, Ceballos was everywhere last game, was looking to turn up the pitch and drive forward.

    Xhaka can’t do those things, not even with Partey parked behind him. He’s just not cut out for the PL, for the demands placed on midfielders.

    If we could sell him and keep Ceballos, sell Guendouzi and get Bissouma, along with Partey we would have a solid midfield.

    1. RW1 & Durand, correct analysis, depends on where we intend to be, 10-15th, then Xhaka is the man for you, 1 good pass in 10 games like he “assist king” we had 1 game in 10. Get rid of him if we want to be contenders.

      1. Loose canon
        Oh sorry if I got it wrong but saying 1 good pass per game still got me confused.
        Please if you want to critise Xhaka, make sure it’s the fact.

        According to FBRef, Granit Xhaka had the second-highest number of passes into the final third (73) among all Premier League midfielders before this weekend.
        Only Rodri (84) had more accurate passes into the final third from outside of it.
        Spurs midfielder Hojberg completed 70 passes, while Bruno Fernandes and Jordan Henderson had 69 and 68, respectively.
        The Swiss international has come under fierce criticism from Arsenal fans for his performances of late. Many have slammed him for making too many backward and sideways passes.
        However, this stat proves that Xhaka is doing his job of delivering the ball to the forwards quite well.

    2. Xhaka almost never leaves his little spot on the field. You can often see there’s a huge hole in front of him and a player under pressure is needing him to move into the space for a pass but he simply refuses to. I’m not talking about a 30m driving run, I mean like a quick movement 5-10m up the field then receive and pass forward and drop back to position.

      Will not do it, maybe coaches instructions but more likely because he likes to have enough time and space on the ball(for his 3 -6 touched before passing)

      He has tons of ability but never pushes himself for the team.

      1. P J
        I totally agree with u about Xhaka…
        he’s just too slow for me… Never make a run into holes is my annoyance about him.

  7. I think Adrien Rabiot might be a good replacement for Xhaka and he is also left footed like Xhaka…but can also use his right foot

  8. If this team is serious whatsoever about building a team that can compete for titles, they must move on from Xhaka…besides the obvious issues related to his lack of speed, propensity for undisciplined cards, lack of respect shown toward the fanbase, inability to push up the pitch with any pace, his seeming unwillingness to make a decisive impact on the game with his once magic left foot and the fact that I’m just not convinced that he wouldn’t rather be elsewhere if the wages were comparable, he’s simply not good enough for a team with higher aspirations…the bigger question is are we that kind of team? I could see him as a decent cover guy if I felt he would accept less to do so and had it in him to help coach-up younger players coming into the first team, but I’m pretty sure that’s not in his DNA…it’s not that I won’t give him credit for upping his game in the last couple of months, but that’s more of a reflection on just how poor he was over the last couple of years

    1. Marcelo Bielsa said Leeds lost the midfield battle, because they couldn’t control Xhaka and Ceballos. He used a kamikaze tactic, but I’d still listen to him as one of the grandmasters of football

      1. Nothing like listening to the typical post-game ramblings of someone who just got outcoached by a rookie manager…furthermore, please read everything he said and not just cherry-pick whatever fit your delusional narrative

  9. Xhaka has done well lately which is good so we can sell him in the summer.

    I would replace him with Teun Koopmeiners:

    – young, experienced and affordable
    – goal threat and quite creative for DM
    – very aggressive tackler but not ill-tempered
    – LEADER (captain of AZ at 22 years)

  10. Xhaka is our best midfielder presently. Don’t know why you want him replaced with players you never sure how they will fit in.
    Guedozi will not renew his contract with us, we have to sell him by summer, else we will prepare to lose him for free, even if he does renew, he can’t do what Xhaka is doing, ever isn’t about pace, Xhaka bring stability to our midfield .
    We are not seing the boom because he has been given a more defensive role to be disciplined and help the defense ease pressure from opposition,

    1. Agree. Xhaka has been one of the very best onour team for a while. As I see it, there are basically 5 players that always are in our first choice starting eleven, if they are available;

      There is a reason for this, and the reason is not, that the manager doesn’t know aboutt football 😉

    2. You never know what happens in football, Adajim! Victor Moses was not highly regarded at Chelsea before he became a regular fixture in their title-winning campaign in 2017.

  11. He never gets credited.
    His passing ability is second to none.
    The way he links tge defence to an attack,the transition is superb.
    His defensive skills are problematic because he was never a DM even though he is used as one.He is like a CM.

  12. Many won’t like this but xhaka shd stay on. Hez the most consistent in our midfield. Do I need to remind anyone arsenal is so poor and flat with xhaka off form or off pitch.
    He has his eneffeciences true but shipping out your most consistent player is sheer madness.

  13. Xhaka sits the deepest among our midfielders. He is literally our DM, but his critics are always talking about him attacking.
    So many people don’t understand how a proper midfield works. There is a reason we have DM, CM, AM and even box-to-box midfielders. Every midfielder can’t be bursting forward at will, especially when you don’t have a team that can play the all-round pressing game. It makes your team unstable. I can understand with those who want a DM with better skill sets and quality than Xhaka. For who those who keep nagging about his speed, mobility and how he doesn’t burst forward, the problem is not Xhaka but you not understanding his role in the team.

    1. I have been a xhaka critics but his performance of late have improved. There’s no need to sell him but buy other good midfielders to compete with him. There are many games to play, plus injuries and suspension so we need a good squad depths to compete for trophies.

  14. I dont understand what’s the need of this article? Xhaka is playing well ,he is one of our most important players.Still people here are nagging about him

  15. Whether we sell Xhaka or not, we should go for Bissouma who is an excellent DM which we have lacked for years.Technically excellent,he has pace and energy and good positional sense to sniff out danger.His acquisition would free Partey for a box to box role, and with the creativity of ESR and perhaps Odegaard,who looked very skilful yesterday, we should have the basis of a well balanced midfield.As to Xhaka, while I am not a great fan for a number of reasons, my views are not shared by our Manager ,so I think we can forget any thoughts of him being moved on.What concerns me more is the prospect of extending the contract of David Luis.To me this would be a retrograde step.

    1. Best comment here. It’s under Arteta that we’re beginning to see Xhakas potential. It would be dumb to completely replace him. It’s much better to get him a competitor such that if he plays badly, we bench him. If he plays well, we field him. I actually wouldn’t even sign Bissouma I’d just bring back Guendouzi and spend the money on a number 10 and a left back.

    2. Bissouma is an extremely good player, as you said! But your opinion on David Luiz is a bit vague. He has been crucial in helping the likes of Martinelli, Saka, and William Saliba when they first broke in the squad. Some intangibles, which we as fans don’t see, should not be ignored.

    1. Under performing players like Xhaka are being for a job well done. That’s the reason we are where we are on the log.

  16. Please God that we DO get rid of XHAKA, asap too. He is far too ponderous , slow to think, slow to act, slow to pass and just painfully slow all round.
    He does have certain strengths its true, physicality and combativeness among them . But taken as a whole he is just not anywhere near the class of player a top side demands. SO WE KEEP HIM AT OUR PERIL!

    No player without real mobility and pace should ever be a mainstay in our team. Simple as that!


    1. Thanks alot, Mr Jon Fox..👍👍
      Keep on saying it, most fans watch football for entertainment n passion but re naive about tactics..
      Xhaka is supposed to be a proper DM like Makelele, Roy Keane or Gilberto Silva of old..But his poor tackling abilities which means playing ghosting past him means he couldn’t play there..
      Dats y he got alot of red and yellow cards often..
      Now he’s been moved ahead to CM and dats even a bigger problem for a team playing a 3 Man midfield..
      Leceister has Ndidi, Teilemans, Maddison..Man utd has Fred, McTominay and B.Fernandez. In Man City, it’s Rodri, Gundogan and De Bruyne while Liverpool (before the injuries) has Fabihno, Henderson and Keita..
      Look@all those midfielders!! All right-footed, and mobile..
      Though good, Xhaka is slow, lazy, can’t tackle and delays in passing due to his left foot limitations..
      D only Left-footed midfielder that did well in a 3 Man Midfield was Dembele of Tottenham during 2014/15/16!! Haven’t seen another..
      We should really give a chance to Maitland Niles!! Boy’s a great player!!

    2. Mobility and pace?
      It means you won’t want Gundogan in your team as well.

      For me, I trust every coach judgment on Xhaka than any of you here.

      Atleast we can see Emery, Freddie and Arteta benching Ozil, Arteta benching Torreria, Arteta not using Guendozi but none of this coaches bench Xhaka. Which means Xhaka is the best midfielder we’ve got.
      So why not buy a better DM and make him compete with Xhaka instead of selling the best and make the new DM compete with the worst? Do you know what will happen when the new DM got injured. Imagine if we had sell Xhaka because we buy Partey.
      You don’t even appreciate him for not picking up and injuring like other players.

      Some people even say, we can’t win any trophy with Xhaka in our team, so we should sell him. I now ask myself if Ferreira wasn’t in Chelsea winning team, Machicio in Man U team, Drinkwater and Morgan in Leceister team, many players like that.

      And another one say… Since Xhaka signed with the club, we never reach the top 4, and it got me thinking that, Denilson, Squillaci, Sylvester, Andre Santos and so many players must be so good that made us make the top 4.

      Some say, Xhaka won’t make any top team, which got me thinking that, will I prefer Jorghinho and Fred to Xhaka?

      Cleverly and Fletcher was in the heart of MAN U team of Ferguson last season and yet they won the league even when Chelsea has more superior players in midfield.

      Appreciate what you have and if you want to upgrade the team, upgrade on Xhaka and make the two compete cos you don’t know if the new DM will pick up in your team.

      Ask why Veron never worked out in Man U, Forlan in Man U etc.

      But I thank God you guys don’t have a say in our signings if not we would have so many flops in our teams more than our 4 past and present coaches combined.
      Remember M’vila, Seri, Filipe and some many more.

      Rant over.

      1. I forgot to mention one even say Xhaka won’t have been in Arsenal if another club offers him what he’s getting at Arsenal. It makes me wonder if Hamburg really wants to match our wages for him cos I believed he made it clear he was leaving before Arteta stopped him.

        Now another Xhaka critic saying Niles should be preferred to him.

        If Xhaka is not good for other big clubs and that’s why we want to get rid of him, don’t you think we need to replace him with a player that can play in other big team?
        So tell me why other big team is not running after Niles?

  17. Xhaka is a good player. I think he best answers to the role of Deep Lying playmaker. Mikel has helped Xhaka play well for us. I think it is better if we keep him and try to get someone to compete with him, either externally or internally. I have accepted that we might take a while to click together yet and compete seriously for titles( 1.5-2 seasons more) so nothing seems a quick fix right now. The players mentioned are all good players and can help us, but I think until we are sure about their impact, we should not let Xhaka go. What if they do not work out? Or worse, suffer our infamous injury curse? Think if we had sold Xhaka, then Partey’s injury would mean exactly who in our midfield?
    A sensible approach might be to ignore transfer targets in this position and makeup with Matteo and bring up Azeez.

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