The January transfer window is just a few weeks away and the future of Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka is the subject of much speculation.
The Gunners had a busy summer window, signing six players including breaking their transfer record to sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille for £72m.
But January might be as much about departures as it will be about incomings when it comes to Arsenal.
One player being strongly linked with an exit is Granit Xhaka, who has been stripped of the captaincy following an angry exchange with fans at the Emirates Stadium when he was substituted in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last month.
The central midfielder has not played for the Gunners since and there is talk of him leaving in the new year, with Arsenal boss Unai Emery staying coy over his future at the club.
Here’s what we know so far on Xhaka‘s future amid links to Newcastle United, a return to Germany and much more.
Xhaka was appointed captain earlier this season by Unai Emery, but his time with the armband was short-lived, with the Swiss international stripped of the captaincy following his outburst towards supporters during the draw with Crystal Palace last month.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang subsequently took over the duties.
“I was speaking with him this morning and also I decided he is not one of the captains in our group,” Emery said when he confirmed his decision.
“I decided that and I told him this morning.
“We have now Aubameyang, Hector, Lacazette and Ozil. They are the four captains and the first now is Aubameyang.”
A few days after Emery revealed the captaincy situation, it was reported that the Gunners might sell Xhaka in the January window.
The Daily Mail claimed that the club will target the Bundesliga when they look to sell the midfielder.
In addition, the report stated that Arsenal have come to the realisation that the 27-year-old doesn’t have a long-term future at the Emirates following his breakdown with supporters.
Having paid £35m for Xhaka in the summer of 2016 when he signed from Borussia Monchengladbach, it remains to be seen if they would be able to recoup a large chunk of that fee.
Newcastle and AC Milan interest
One Premier League club linked with a possible move for Xhaka is Newcastle United, and when asked recently about the rumours, Magpies manager Steve Bruce hinted that a move could be on the cards.
“We have six centre-backs and three right-backs but are a bit short in midfield areas, so we’ll have a little look at that,” he said, as reported by The Guardian.
“You are always looking to add that bit of quality, so we’ll see if we can.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reports that Xhaka’s international team-mate, Newcastle defender Fabian Schar, has told him good things about the club and the city, with the Arsenal midfielder aware of the Magpies’ interest in a possible loan deal in January.
However, Newcastle are understood to also be looking at other targets, with competition from AC Milan in the race to sign Xhaka.
What Unai Emery has said
Unai Emery has admitted he will speak to Granit Xhaka and the Arsenal hierarchy about the player’s future.
With mounting injury problems and 10 games in the six weeks when club football resumes after the international break, a decision is needed soon.
And that is when Emery has planned to discuss the 27-year-old’s fate.
“It is important to stay without Granit Xhaka now but I don’t know, maybe he can play in the future maybe he cannot,” Emery said. “The club also knows how both of us are thinking about that circumstance.
“After the international break, I am going to speak to him again. The club is also speaking with him and we are going to decide how he is and how we are going to use him.”
Odds on Xhaka’s future
SkyBet have provided the most comprehensive odds on Xhaka’s situation, with Xhaka still odds-on to stay at Arsenal beyond January.
But there are plenty of potential suitors should he move on, according to the latest odds, with AC Milan the current favourites to land the midfielder should he leave the Emirates, ahead of his former club Borussia Monchengladbach.
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Here are the latest Xhaka player transfer odds:
AC Milan 3/1
Borussia Monchengladbach 10/1
Atletico Madrid 12/1
West Ham United 12/1
Any Chinese Super League club 14/1
Inter Milan 14/1
Manchester United 25/1
To stay at Arsenal 4/6
To leave Arsenal 11/10