Daily Archives: May 13, 2023
Thoughts on the Granit Xhaka Contract Situation
With the season reaching its climax, it is expected for off-the-field activities like contract sorting and everyone’s favorite bit, transfer negotiations and business in general. However, Arsenal has a lot of business to conduct this summer and it is important to tie down the futures of key players for the foreseeable future. At the tail end of last season, Eddie Nketiah signed a contract extension, just when it seemed like he had one foot at the exit door. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gone in the winter transfer window and it was evident that we were not renewing the deal of Alexandre Lacazette, it was important to keep Nketiah, while sorting the #9 issue in the transfer market, which arrived in the form of Gabriel Jesus.
This season, we secured the future of one of the brightest stars in the club, Gabriel Martinelli, who signed a contract extension to 2027, and most recently, it has been reported that the club’s talisman, Bukayo Saka, is set to extend his stay at the club beyond 2024. Speaking of 2024, Arsenal has six players whose contracts are scheduled to expiry at the end of next season – Bukayo Saka, William Saliba, Mohamed Elneny, Jorginho, Rob Holding and Granit Xhaka.
Talks have already begun with Saliba’s representatives and everyone connected with the club are confident that he will stay at Arsenal for the foreseeable future. Mo Elneny’s contract was set to expire at the end of this season, but the club opted to hand him an extension for an additional year, to allow him recuperate from his knee surgery and probably say goodbye on his own terms, as it seems unlikely that the Egyptian stalwart might stay beyond the club next season. Jorginho is one player that was brought in to hold the fort in central midfield and provide adequate cover, and with the Gunners setting their sights on the likes of Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo, I see Jorginho returning to the Serie A to see out the rest of his playing days in his native homeland.
As for Rob Holding, he is just one of those lads that have stuck around for quite some time and always provided cover at the back, even though things haven’t panned out well for him this season, with the Englishman becoming a lighting rod for vitriol and abuse from the fans following his performances in Saliba’s stead this campaign. Depending on what Arsenal does in terms of defensive covers, I see him leaving the club for a mid-table Premier League outfit where he can play his football without the added pressures and expectations from fans, but I am no Nostradamus, just a random Arsenal blogger.
Which brings me to the man of the hour – Granit Xhaka. In 44 appearances this season, Xhaka has scored seven goals, which is his personal best since he start playing competitive football 13 seasons ago. Xhaka’s renaissance has been tied to the arrival of Oleksandr Zinchenko, and the Ukrainian presence in midfield has allowed Xhaka to drift forward and showcase his attacking prowess much to the benefit of the team. Xhaka had a September to remember, winning the Player of the Month award as voted by Arsenal fans.
It was reported that Arsenal reached out to Xhaka’s representatives to discuss the possibility of a new contract, but the Swiss midfielder has backed away, stating that he’d prefer to have the engagements in the summer. Despite his contract expiring in 2024, Arsenal has the option of triggering the one-year extension which will see him stay for an additional season at the very least. Arsenal had triggered the extensions of Saka and Saliba last season.
Right now, there should be no cause for concern, as Xhaka is happy at the club, and is also the vice-captain, so I am positive that an agreement can be reach to keep him at the club beyond 2024. With the average age of the club around 24 ish, Xhaka, Jorginho and Partey are among the ‘older experienced heads’ and has provided leadership for the team on several occasions.
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