As most fans probably know by now, Newcastle have been linked with an audacious January swoop for Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, although there may yet be another twist in the saga.
Arsenal currently sit sixth in the Premier League table, already eight points behind Manchester City in the last Champions League spot, which has led to speculation over Unai Emery’s future at the club.
It is Emery, of course, who took the decision to strip Xhaka of his captaincy following the incident where the player reacted to his own fans’ boos as he was substituted.
It was also the manager who has not picked him to play for the Gunners since that incident, and it remains to be seen if he maintains that stance between now and January.
So bearing that in mind, it is logical to reason that as long as Emery is in charge at the Emirates Stadium, Xhaka would appear to have no future at Arsenal.
But as confirmed in the Chronicle, if that situation was to change, and owner Stan Kroenke sacks his Spanish manager, the goalposts could move significantly.
Any incoming boss would surely want to assess every player in the squad, and he could then deem Xhaka to be an integral part of the squad going forward.
That would blow away any chance of Newcastle – or any other potential suitor – luring the player out of London in January, whether on loan or permanently.
Bruce will be hoping Emery stays in place at Arsenal
As a result, Steve Bruce is likely to have a vested interest in Arsenal’s fortunes in the coming weeks, and if he genuinely has realistic aims of signing Fabian Schar’s Swiss international teammate, he will be hoping Emery’s side do enough to stay in touch with the top four.
The Daily Express reported last week that the Arsenal hierarchy are resisting fans’ calls for Emery to go, but if the side do not pick up wins on a regular basis, that could change in an instant.
It is 46 days until the January transfer window opens, and Arsenal have eight Premier League games, and two Europa League matches between now, and that date.
If Emery is still in charge after that run, Bruce may yet manage to pull off – what for him will be – a major transfer coup.