Ever since he arrived from Borussia Mönchengladbach for £40.5m back in 2016, Granit Xhaka has been a key player regardless of whether Arsène Wenger or Unai Emery have been in charge.
Missing the last couple of games because of a groin strain, the Switzerland international should be back in time for Thursday’s clash against Napoli in the Europa League, a team he could have joined instead of the Gunners.
Speaking to CalcioNapoli24, Mario Cenolli, described as a ‘member of Xhaka’s entourage’, explained all.
He said: “There were contacts, then came Arsenal with an enticing offer and Borussia couldn’t refuse. Granit would have liked to wear the blue shirt, he has the utmost respect for the place. Granit is doing well at Arsenal, he settled well in London even if in football, you never know.”
Ah, yes, the famous ‘you never know’ as we approach the summer transfer window.
Either way, Cenolli then moved on to Arsenal as a team, and discussed the difficulties the club have faced this season, notably in defence, where Xhaka has had to fill in a few times.
He believes their inability to have a continuous partnership at the back and Emery’s recent arrival could play in Napoli’s favour.
He said: “Emery has brought three players with him and still has to express his ideas. This is an advantage for Napoli, who will be able to exploit Arsenal’s defensive blackouts.”
The Emirates faithful know all about those, with a rather mobile attack in front of them, and with Arkadiusz Milik proving a handful for defenders once again, it’s going to be an interesting match up.