It would be a “surprise” if Newcastle United were able to complete a deal for Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, according to The Chronicle journalist Mark Douglas.
The Swiss ace has been linked with a move to Tyneside after publicly falling out with fans following his substitution against Crystal Palace in October, and is set for showdown talks with Unai Emery having returned from international duty, as per the Chronicle.
But Douglas has admitted that he would be surprised if a transfer happened this winter.
Writing in a Q&A for the Chronicle (14.47), he said: “Don’t write it off entirely but it’d still be a surprise to see the deal done.
“A pleasant one given how capable he is, despite his travails at Arsenal.”
This might not be the worst thing in the world for Newcastle, all things considered. Xhaka is clearly a top level talent, but he is also an incendiary character on the field, as illustrated by his 29 yellow cards and two reds in 108 Premier League matches, as per the league themselves. Moreover, he is on a high wage, understood to be around £100,000-a-week, as per Spotrac, a sum that would shatter the Magpies’ current salary structure. Perhaps, the most damaging factor of all, however, is the fact that Xhaka isn’t actually playing that well at the moment. His Whoscored rating of 6.65 leaves a lot to be desired, and certainly doesn’t vastly improve on the central midfield options that the Magpies already have. Signings are probably needed, but there could be smarter deals to make than this one.