Newcastle fans woke up this morning to headlines linking Newcastle with a shock move for Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, with the player at odds with Gunners fans.
The Swiss star was stripped of the captaincy at the Emirates this week, after his reaction to fans who jeered him when he was taken off against Crystal Palace, and is reportedly set to leave in January.
The Times are reporting that Steve Bruce is ready to rescue him from his Arsenal predicament, with a move being mooted when the transfer window opens.
It seems unlikely that the Magpies would be considering such a deal, with the club expected to have a limited budget, although there is believed to be money there if the right player comes along.
But as good as he is, would Xhaka be that ‘right player’? And would he even contemplate a move to Newcastle?
Well, the answer to the second question depends on how desperate he is to leave Arsenal, and whether a move would be on loan or permanent.
Fabian Schar could be speaking to Xhaka about a Newcastle move
The one thing Newcastle do have in their favour, is Xhaka’s international teammate Fabian Schar, who would be able to talk up life at St James’ Park, and Newcastle in general.
As for the first question, Newcastle are not desperate for another holding midfielder, with both Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden available for the role.
Yes, Xhaka is probably at the next level to the two younger players, but their age and form suggest that they may eventually reach that level, and fans will hope they will do that on Tyneside.
Add to that any potential fee, or loan deal, and tagging on his salary as well, and you have a deal that would – in Newcastle terms – be astronomical.
Certainly with whatever actual budget he has, Bruce will be focusing on other areas, hopefully a right winger, and another striker, but blowing all his budget on another midfielder seems unlikely.
While many fans would love the thought of a player of Xhaka’s stature to come to the club, we doubt it will happen in the immediate future, but if Newcastle could somehow find themselves as a consistent top-half team, these types of signings may follow in the future.