Premier League • England

Ferdinand urges Arsenal to replace Granit Xhaka with ‘mad player’ who ‘isn’t fazed by anything’

Odsonne Edouard, Michael Olise, Roy Hodgson, Eberechi Eze, Crystal Palace after Premier League win against Leeds at Elland Road

Odsonne Edouard, Michael Olise, Roy Hodgson, Eberechi Eze, Crystal Palace after Premier League win against Leeds at Elland Road

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has tipped a talented Crystal Palace star as an ideal replacement for Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka.

The Gunners are currently top of the Premier League and the Switzerland international has played a key role in their success this season.

However, Xhaka will turn 31 in September and it’s believed that Mikel Arteta will look for a more long-term centre-mid in the near future.

Xhaka has seen his game completely transformed this season after adopting a more attacking role for Arsenal – scoring seven goals in 41 appearances overall.

Nevertheless, it’s no secret Arteta that is currently on the hunt for cover in midfield as he looks to plan ahead.

As previously reported, Declan Rice is one of Arsenal’s key summer targets. However, he is more of a defensive option, so wouldn’t really be a like-for-like replacement for Xhaka

With that in mind, Ferdinand thinks that Eberechi Eze could be the perfect candidate to replace Xhaka. And at the age of 24, he still has potential to get even better in the future.

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Ferdinand says ‘calm’ could succeed at Arsenal

Eze has been in excellent form for Crystal Palace since Roy Hodgson returned to the dugout at Selhurt Park, scoring three goals in his last three games.

Indeed, his recent performances have left Eagles fans baffled as to why Patrick Vieira wasn’t playing the midfielder before he was sacked in March.

Eze’s has received praise from several pundits recently, including Ferdinand, who has tipped him for big things in the future.

Speaking on YouTube channel FIVE, via Football365he said: “Eze is a mad player. He’s playing like he’s in the cage.

“Just smooth, man. He doesn’t seem fazed either. Every situation you put him in, he’s just calm.

“And he’s in that position where he turns and faces up midfielders or defenders; he can go past people, slip people in and finish.

“He’d be good at Arsenal, you know. In the Xhaka position. Maybe in another year.”

A versatile player, Eze has the ability to play as a central or attacking midfielder or even as a left winger on occasion, so he could potentially provide cover in several areas for Arteta.

However, Arsenal will have to put their money where their mouth is to get a deal over the line, with the Crystal Palace star valued at approximately £30m by Transfermarkt

Interestingly, Eze isn’t the only Eagles player tipped to head to the Emirates, with Wilfried Zaha getting ‘offered’ to Arsenal ahead of his contract expiring this summer.

With that in mind, if Arteta takes Ferdinand’s advice, we could potentially see Arsenal raid Palace for two of their best players.

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