Now before we all get too excited, it is season ticket renewal time soon. We expect the renewal Emails to be sent out over the next couple of days.
Usually, and rightly so, such a heavy link a few days before renewal day can be put down as a bit of hyperboil. A leak by the club to make fans think this year could be different. It usually isn’t.
Counteracting that, the Bundesliga has a habit of doing business early. Bayern Munich have already spent big on two players.
In the last 10 years, Arsenal have made 3 big signings from Germany. Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker & Tomas Rosicky.
Mertesacker was signed on the last day of the transfer window on that day of madness in 2012. Podolski & Rosicky were deals completed in April and May respectively. Deals done early. I think the Xhaka rumour has legs.
From what I have read of the Swiss midfielder. He is a bit of an all rounder. Defensive but can pass and get forward. I see him being the sides primary defensive midfielder if he signs, replacing Francis Coquelin. He is a good place to start.
He has been a revelation since he broke through at the back end of 2014. Full of energy, works hard for the team, gets around the pitch, a crunching tackle, enthusiasm, heart (and to the most part) discipline.
His main weakness however is his distribution. He is not the best passer. And with him at the back, it has restricted Arsenal’s ability to launch attacks from deep. Our defensive midfielder see’s more of the ball than any other player. We need someone who can pass. Xhaka can. Coquelin can not.
Coquelin flourished when playing next to Santi Cazorla. As he could win the ball, play a short pass to Cazorla, who would launch the attack.
Xhaka will not mean the end of Coquelin. But Coquelin will find himself as a bench player.
Recently he has been demoted as Wenger has gone with the Elneny/Ramsey axis. This will continue into next season with Xhaka playing ahead of him.
Where Coquelin will excel is in the bigger games when we need extra defensive protection from the midfield. Coquelin will come in alongside Xhaka providing a solid defensive duo.
My bet for next season? Ozil for Coquelin will be the most common substation made.
Over the last few games, Elneny has replaced Coquelin as Wenger realised that we were struggling to transition the ball from defence into midfielder. His partnership with Aaron Ramsey seems to work a lot better than Coquelin / Ramsey.
With Xhaka coming in, the future of Elneny has to be bought into question. Does he have a future?
Xhaka will replace him in the starting 11. And with Coquelin a better option on the bench for a defensive substitution, I can see Elneny being a peripheral squad player.
Such a cheap signing, it could be that he was always a short term option.
Of course, I do not want to write him off, and he could continue his progress, but I see him as no more than a back up player. Being back up for Xhaka if he is out, or a replacement for Aaron Ramsey and/or Jack Wilshere when they get their usually injury.
He will stay another year, but will not get much game time if everyone is fit.
This time last year, Wenger drew his line in the sand. Jack Wilshere would be our new defensive midfielder. We would not be buying anyone else. And we didn’t. It did not work out well.
Xhaka will not be ending Wilshere’s Arsenal career. Merely changing it.
Wilshere has shown he is incapable of staying fit. When he is fit, he is a class player. But the same could be said of Diaby.
His future at Arsenal is surely now as a squad player. Someone who can not be relied upon to be a consistent starter, but can be used as a back up player for any of the 3 central midfield positions, and a good opinion off the bench.
A brilliant player, but there is no point being brilliant if you are always in the medical room.
A consistent starter this season, despite being in poor form, the signing of Xhaka will add competition to his place in midfield.
Whilst Xhaka will not directly be in competition with Ramsey, an extra quality player in midfield will add pressure to Ramsey.
It would mean that the manager would have the option to play Coquelin alongside in the back games. And then add Wilshere and Elneny into the mix, any loss of form for Ramsey would result in him surely losing his place in the side?
The Coquelin / Cazorla axis worked so well during the early part of the season. But the signing of Xhaka will put an end to that.
Most likely, Arsenal will start the majority of games with Xhaka and Ramsey. Ozil ahead of them. Xhaka’s natural replacements are Coquelin & Elneny, Ramsey’s will be Wilshere. So where does that leave Santi Cazorla?
The only place I can see him fitting in is Ozil’s understudy.
Like Ramsey, this would then see Ozil get a kick up the arse. Having someone quality to back him up and put pressure on him.
If everyone is fit, it could also see Ozil play wide right, drifting inside.
Taking into account the injuries in the middle of the park we get year after year, Xhaka will be a quality signing. A leader. A general. It is certainly one to be excited about.
The domino effect however may see Mohamed Elneny’s Arsenal career being over before it has really begun.
I guess to be a success you must be ruthless.