Newcastle United’s hopes of signing Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka have been cast into doubt – despite claims today that Lee Charnley would be prepared to sanction a loan deal.
We’ve been heavily linked with a January move for the 27-year-old, but the Northern Echo report that Arsenal instead hope to use the Swiss international as bait in an attempt to sign Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria.
If true, this makes you realise why a straight loan to Newcastle would have little benefit for the Gunners in comparison, with the London side in need of a replacement should he go. In comparison, a deal with Monchengladbach helps get an unpopular player off the books whilst also bringing a target of their’s to the club.
Xhaka has struggled to impress at Arsenal since arriving at the club in a £30million deal in 2016.
He has been criticised for lacking creativity whilst also not possessing the mobility and defensive capabilities required to be a box to box midfielder in the Premier League.
Despite this, Xhaka handed the club captaincy at the start of the season but has had that honour stripped due to a clash with home supporters during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Palace in October.
Many magpies fans were bemused when initial reports linking us to Granit Xhaka first emerged, with many of the club’s support dismissing the rumours instantly, however there does seem to be some substance behind those links a few weeks on.
A central midfield player is something that Newcastle do not necessarily require, but it would be silly to suggest that a current Arsenal player and Swiss International would not improve the current Newcastle side.
A concern for Toon fans is that the arrival of a player like Xhaka would stifle the progression of local lads Sean and Matty Lonstaff and that priorities at the club should be focused on bringing in a striker rather than a midfielder.
Newcastle are unlikely to be in a position to secure a permanent deal for the player, but Xhaka could be interested in a short-term switch to the North East as it allows him to continue playing Premier League football before a potential switch elsewhere in the summer.
As is always the case with transfer activity at Newcastle, it is probably best for supporters to stay tight-lipped on this transfer rather than get excited about a potential move.
It is only when we see the player in a black-and-white shirt on the club’s official website when we can finally believe a transfer rumour to be true!