Arsenal ‘fan favourite’ told exactly what he must do to earn new contract after ‘outstanding’ performance
Martin Keown thinks Granit Xhaka is ‘becoming an Arsenal fan favourite’ among the Gunners faithful, while the midfielder has been told what he must achieve to get fresh terms.
Xhaka has had a poor relationship with Arsenal supporters at times, due to some disappointing performances and rash challenges. He has been sent off five times for Arsenal, more than any other player under Mikel Arteta.
However, the 30-year-old has begun to turn things around in the last 18 months or so, and especially this season.
He is now one of Arsenal’s most important players, having found the net three times and registered three assists in 14 matches this season.
Xhaka captained Arsenal against PSV on Thursday night and scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory for Arteta’s side.
He sent a half volley into the bottom corner with 20 minutes left after being picked out by Takehiro Tomiyasu.
After the match, Arteta said on Xhaka: “It was a great goal with the right foot, a half volley, he is getting in these positions every game that’s why he is scoring the goals.”
Keown sung the praises of the Switzerland international after the match. “Granit Xhaka is now becoming an Arsenal fan favourite and who could’ve imagined that?” he said on BT Sport (via BBC Sport).
“Mikel Arteta gets the job done and it’s really important to make sure they are in charge of this group.
“PSV were so geared up to stop Arsenal they ran out of steam. [Bukayo] Saka, every time I watch him play he just gets better. His upper-body strength is getting better and the way he runs past players is first class.”
Martin Keown lauds Granit Xhaka for ‘outstanding’ finish
Keown then continued his praise for Xhaka and revealed the star must help Arsenal to lift some silverware this season if he is to get a new contract.
“With the role he has, it has given him a lot of licence to move forwards,” the pundit said. “The quality of the finish was outstanding, the technique was really good and he is going to enjoy that for sometime.
“It was his right foot, his swinger, never scored for Arsenal with his right foot.
“We know he has had a difficult time at the club but that’s in the past and he’s doing well, but he is really important in the side for Arsenal’s success.
“If they are successful and win a trophy, he will get another contract.”
Xhaka is not on Arsenal’s list of priorities right now when it comes to contract negotiations. They are working hard to tie down the likes of Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba.
However, Xhaka must be next in line after that trio. His deal is due to expire in summer 2024, which means clubs could launch moves to sign him next year.
Arsenal should look to put them off by handing the midfield enforcer new terms. He should also get a pay rise as part of this package due to his exceptional performances this season.
Meanwhile, Arsenal must overcome some major competition to sign Celtic’s ‘brightest jewel’, according to a report.