Newcastle United prepare bid to sign Granit Xhaka in January – The Times
Granit Xhaka is a target for Newcastle United in January, according to an exclusive on Friday morning.
There is general acceptance across the media that the Swiss midfielder will be moving on in this next transfer window.
However, whilst there has been an assumption he will return to the Bundesliga, The Times say that their information is that Steve Bruce and Newcastle United are going to bid to bring the midfielder to St James Park.
The position of the player has become untenable at The Emirates, after abuse from Arsenal fans the then Gunners captain reacted on being subbed at home to Crystal Palace, cupping his ear to the further abuse as he walked off the pitch and telling fans to ‘fu.. off’.
Since then, Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the captaincy and not included in the squad in matches since, whilst the player himself gave an apology that wasn’t really an apology, more a case of saying everybody has to respect each other.
Signed for £40m from Borussia Monchengladbach, the midfielder has done well at Arsenal but clearly needs to move on, with no doubt Unai Emery happy to sell as he looks to improve his squad in January after an indifferent start to the season by their standards.
Granit Xhaka has only scored seven Premier League goals since arriving in 2016 but they include that excellent free-kick (see above) that set Arsenal on their way to a 2-1 win at St James Park in September 2018.
He also played the full 90 minutes as Arsenal won 1-0 in the opening match of the season on Tyneside.
If there was a bid, then very likely that the likes of Isaac Hayden and/or Jonjo Shelvey could be sold to help fund it. Both midfielders having only a year and a half to go on their current deals and maybe a feeling that it is inevitable that Hayden will still leave to be closer to family.
A big motivation for Granit Xhaka to move on is that he is desperate to keep his place alongside Fabian Schar in the Switzerland team, with the Euros coming up next summer.
In the past, Mike Ashley has been more than happy to take on players who have had issues at other clubs, if he sees a ‘bargain’, the likes of Joey Barton and Hatem Ben Arfa being prime examples.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger has backed his replacement Unai Emery in taking the captaincy off Grant Xhaka:
“As a manager you have to face those kind of decisions.
“We always face the unexpected as a manager and you have to make quick decisions.
“I think Arsenal are respected all over the world because they are built on values and everyone has to respect these values and the manager has to get them to be respected.
“Arsenal for me, always had a touch of class.
“Football today in the modern era has a huge responsibility on the way we behave, the way were are examples.
“Arsenal are one of the big clubs in the world and we have to show that.”
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