According to an out of the blue ‘exclusive’ from The Times, Newcastle are set to offer Granit Xhaka an escape route from Arsenal in the new year.
North-east writer Martin Hardy claims Steve Bruce is ready to hand a January lifeline to the Swiss international, who’s expected to seek a move after being stripped of the Arsenal captaincy this week.
This comes after the 27-year-old was seen cupping his ear and swearing at the Arsenal crowd after being booed off the pitch in a draw with Crystal Palace two weeks ago – something that’s seen him fall out with Unai Emery and lose his place in their starting 11 as a result.
I’m highly sceptical of this, for more reasons than one.
We’re a team that tend to rely on energy, guts and pure determination, yet Xhaka has often seemed a Jonjo Shelvey-esque luxury player when I’ve seen him for Arsenal over the past few years. Not only that, he hardly covered himself in glory at the Emirates last month – even if some of the treatment he’s received from certain Gunners fans has been unacceptable.
He’s got ability, but I’m not sure where he fits if we’re handing Shelvey and Hayden new deals and planning to give both Sean and Matty Longstaff their fair share of chances at first-team level.
It’s also fair to say he’d have plenty admirers should Arsenal flog him on the cheap in the new year, while it’s also debatable whether we’d willing to match his wage package – which is likely to be big as an ex-Arsenal skipper.
Interesting and surprising claims from a usually reliable north-east reporter, but a transfer link I’d take with a pinch of salt for now.