Arsenal Have Found Their Granit Xhaka Replacement As Swiss Midfielder Nears Roma Transfer
Granit Xhaka was much maligned during his time at Arsenal but it could not be argued that he did not play a crucial part in the team.
While there were individual errors and moments of indiscipline that will forever blot his Emirates Stadium copy book the Swiss international was the Gunners’ top progressive pass maker per 90 last season and his personal upturn in form cannot be ignored when looking at the club’s improvement in the second half of last season.
However, despite this the 28-year-old looks set to leave North London this summer, with Roma likely to secure a move for him imminently football.london understands.
With that in mind finding someone to replace Xhaka is absolutely crucial this transfer window and it seems that Arsenal might have already done so.
The role of getting the ball forwards from defence to attack is something that has is absolutely crucial to the way Mikel Arteta wants his side to play.
Getting it from A to B as soon as possible is key to taking advantage of the pace and finishing ability that the Gunners front line possess when they are in top form.
In the first part of last season this is something they really struggled with.
Up until December they ranked 4th for touches in their own defensive third, but just 13th for touches in the opposition third of the pitch.
Thanks to his progressive passing alongside Thomas Partey – who played far more regularly in the second half of the campaign after missing much of the early part of his Gunners career with injury – Arsenal ended the season in fifth for touches in the opposition third as per fbRef .
While the Gunners are expected to replace him with an experienced transfer this summer, the signing they have already made may well be up to the job.
Albert Sambi Lokonga arrived from Anderlecht last week with a reputation for getting the ball forward, and doing it quickly.
The Belgian midfielder ranked in the 93rd percentile for accurate passes into the final third and progressive passes among players in the Jupiler League (as per WyScout) and the 94th percentile for accurate through passes.