Granit Xhaka heading for January exit?
There are rumours today that former Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka could be set for a January transfer window departure, with a move back to the German Bundesliga likely to be the Swiss international midfielder's likely next destination. The Swiss, who arrived at the Emirates Stadium from Borussia Monchengladbach, had a high profile incident during a Premier League game when manager Unai Emery hauled the player off after just 60 minutes.
Xhaka has long endured a difficult relationship with the club's faithful fans and it appears that the midfielder has decided to depart North London with a move back to Germany his preferred destination. The former Basel midfielder had been promoted as the club's captain just back in September, but it appears as if he will now be leaving the club having provided only a full apology in German, but not in English on his Instagram page.
Xhaka came off of the pitch cupping his ears to the club's fans, yelling expletives to the supporters and then took off his shirt. To make matters worse, Xhaka also only walked off of the field, despite his team being 2-2 at home to struggling Premier League side Crystal Palace. All of this has meant that Xhaka has become a hate figure at the Gunners and it is understood there is no future for Xhaka any longer.
There also remains some uncertainty about the long term future of manager Unai Emery, who has come in for criticism having appointed Xhaka via a dressing room vote. Many critics argue that a manager should take full responsibility for electing the club's captain.
Arsenal, who currently lie 5th in the Premier League table, are considering replacing Emery as their manager in order to stop the rot of poor recent form. The Gunners are desperately chasing a Champions League qualification spot, having agonisingly missed out last season, with Arsenal requiring just one point from a possible six total. According to recent betting odds, Arsenal are still favoured to qualify for a European spot next season.
It is rumoured that Xhaka is also willing to return back to Switzerland to his home club of Basel, but the Swiss side are unlikely to be able to afford his estimated salary of £100,000 per week and transfer fee of more than £15 million that Arsenal are looking to recoup. The Gunners paid a total of £30 million for Xhaka.
The 27-year-old has been forced to hand over the captain's armband to popular striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and also missed the key Premier League game against Wolves last weekend, in a game that finished 1-1.
Arsenal fans have recently blamed Xhaka for the team's struggles and it appears that the midfielder could be replaced permanently in the club's first team by Lucas Torreira. It is understood Torreira has called a meeting with manager Unai Emery to discuss his future at Arsenal, with the defensive midfielder concerned that he has not played regular first team football.
The Gunners could soon appoint Jose Mourinho as a replacement for Emery.