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Opinion

Why Granit Xhaka would be a big improvement on current Newcastle United options

4 weeks ago
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The speculation is growing on the possibility of Newcastle United  signing Granit Xhaka on loan in January.

As always, just because the speculation is growing, doesn’t mean there is actually any truth/substance in it.

However, just suppose it is a possibility…

Reading numerous comments from Newcastle fans about the Swiss international, I have been both surprised and amused at what appears to be the majority view.

Namely, that United don’t need him, having got better options already, or at least of a similar level.

I think we are all guilty of at times, some fans more than most, getting a bit carried away with our current players. Yes they are of generally good character and appear to be likeable but when it comes to ability, people are guilty of clouded vision on occasion.

Personally, I think Granit Xhaka would be a significant step up on the other central midfield options and offers something Newcastle don’t have at the minute.

Xhaka is creative, mobile, gets forward with the ball, prepared to play one-twos around the box and gives creativity from midfield.

In comparison what we have at the minute:

Isaac Hayden – Probably the most dependable of the central midfielders at Newcastle but very limited going forward.

A decent player but struggle to remember him playing any killer balls and almost always plays it safe.

Sean Longstaff – First choice alongside Hayden when fit and free from suspension, still early days but a promising player.

Had around half a dozen good to very good games last season from eight starts but not really got to that level this season. A better passer of the ball than Hayden but not really quick enough (or the ability?) to get further up the pitch and have the kind of impact Granit Xhaka can have around the box and in the final third.

Jonjo Shelvey – Great passer of the ball but limited mobility and too often not up for it.

The games where he has real impact are very few and far between. If we got Xhaka in and Shelvey moved on, I think that would be great for NUFC.

Ki Sung-yeung – Had a few decent games when first getting into the team but can’t remember the last time he played well.

Don’t think he is Premier League level now.

Matty Longstaff – Great PL debut but struggled in his next two starts.

Any further chances this season for the younger Longstaff should be from the bench I feel. Has got potential but we need better better first choice options this season.

I think it is a big weakness in Newcastle’s central midfield that we don’t have anybody who can get forward and get involved in the attacking moves, Xhaka can provide that. We have loads of pace in the team which would allow for a few more attacking risks to be taken from central midfield, as we can’t keep relying on defenders and a touch of luck supplying the majority of goals.

As for Arsenal fans saying Granit Xhaka is rubbish, well they say that about everybody at their club eventually. Look how they treated Arsene Wenger, the best manager any of them had seen, top four and Champions League football every season and three FA Cups in his final six seasons but still they abused him.

Before signing  for Arsenal in a near £40m deal, Xhaka had inspired Borussia Monchengladbach to third and fourth in the Bundesliga, after leaving they finished ninth in each of the next two seasons.

I think with Almiron and Saint-Maximin, Newcastle have raised the quality in attacking areas, though jury still out on Joelinton.

We know we have great strength at centre-back and now is the time to raise the quality in central midfield.

If Granit Xhaka is a possibility for Newcastle United then it is a no-brainer.

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