Arsenal opinion: Three replacements for Granit Xhaka
According to English news outlet Daily Star, Atletico Madrid have shortlisted Granit Xhaka as their top replacement for Rodri.
The Spaniard is as good as gone, with Manchester City willing to pay out his release clause and have to agree to personal terms before the deal can be announced.
But the move according to the Guardian is as good as done and it’s why Atletico Madrid need a replacement before the window slams shut.
For Arsenal though, losing their regista just months before the start of the new season will hurt them. Because despite all his faults, Xhaka is a very valuable player and one that Arsenal heavily depend on.
The addition of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi eased the Swiss international from his defensive duties, which changed the way he played.
Instead, Xhaka became the maestro in the middle, running the play and essentially playing a massive part for the club. Losing that right now with the club still in a transition phase will hurt them more than anything.
That’s why Arsenal need to find reinforcements and here are three top-class replacements who the Gunners can consider.
A defensive wall, Partey doesn’t do too much offensively but can move the ball around well. That’s what Arsenal need and the 25-year-old’s versatility to play as a right-back, centre-back and as a defensive midfielder adds to his value.
More importantly, Partey has everything to help him flourish in the Premier League, from the stamina to play high octane football, the passing ability to excel as a midfielder and the no-nonsense defensive brain that has made him one of the best destroyers in the La Liga.
It’s why the move makes a lot of sense, and while he isn’t a like-to-like replacement for Xhaka, Partey will be able to do his job and probably a bit more.
A capable midfielder, the 26-year-old has the ability to play either as a number 10 or in a more deeper number 6 role. However, it’s as a number 8 that the 26-year-old really flourishes, thanks to his blend of creativity and defensive nous, which is probably why Arsenal have been linked.
When used as a number 6, Veretout has often struggled to make a difference, with him more often than not running forward to make an impact. However, when combined with a defensive midfielder like Christian Norgaard, Marco Benassi and Gerson, things changed.
It was there that Jordan Veretout really turned into a brilliant recycler. Sure, he made the occasional burst forward to help out the attack but for the most part, he stayed back and used his rather impressive passing average to move the ball around.
That’s a very underrated skill in this day and age, which is why it makes him a great option.
Franck Yannick Kessié
A world-class talent despite all his struggles, Kessié is more like Ramsey than Granit Xhaka, which says a lot about how talented he is. An all-action midfielder, the 22-year-old can attack, defend and even dictate the play if needed, showing his versatility and talent.
However, it’s really as a box-to-box central midfielder that the Ivory Coast star excels, flourishing in that role at Atalanta. His stamina combined with his work ethic makes him perfect for the Premier League and with AC Milan looking to sell him, it’s a move that Arsenal need to make.
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An issue would be the fact that Kessié often doesn’t stay back to help out. A tireless runner, the 22-year-old would arguably be more of a replacement for a certain Welshman.