What a difference two months makes.
At the end of October, it seemed as though Granit Xhaka’s Arsenal career was over. The Swiss midfielder’s antics after being subbed against Crystal Palace saw him lose the captaincy and the love of supporters, with a move away seemingly inevitable.
According to The Telegraph, Steve Bruce wanted to rescue him and bring him to St James’ Park on loan and was confident of doing so.
But with the January transfer window now open, things have changed. With Unai Emery gone, Xhaka has a second chance at Arsenal under Mikel Arteta, and the Spaniard has crushed Bruce’s hopes of signing the 27-year-old.
“Yes, he did [give me that reassurance that he’ll stay],” Arteta told Arsenal’s official website.
“I think he is going to stay. He was very good [against Manchester United], and I really like him.”
Is this a big blow for Newcastle? Not really. His arrival was never likely. Xhaka is on big money at Arsenal, and it seemed far-fetched to think Newcastle would break their wage structure to bring the midfielder in on a temporary deal.
But Newcastle do need to be active this month. The Christmas period has obliterated Bruce’s squad, who ended up playing with 10 men against Leicester because of injuries.
A dicey FA Cup third round tie is on the horizon against Rochdale, and Bruce is under pressure to get a result despite his lengthy injury list.
To be fair, I don’t think Xhaka would have fancied Rochdale away anyway…