Mikel Arteta has helped to rejuvenate Arsenal’s season.
Under Unai Emery, their whole campaign was in danger of fizzling out before it had even really got going – it was no real surprise when he was relieved of his duties in November of last year. Since the Spaniard’s appointment, though, they have lost just two from 15 matches, winning eight and drawing the other five.
Arsene Wenger signing Granit Xhaka, however, has had a season to forget for the most part – and that has been reflected in the sharp decrease in his Transfermarkt value.
In December of 2018, he was valued at £45m, and even on July 1st last year, that number was at £40.5m. Now, though, he is said to be worth just £27m – that is a 40% drop in 18 months.
Here, we take a look at three reasons behind that slump…
One of Emery’s last big decisions was to appoint the 27-year-old as the club’s captain. The path he took to make that decision was questionable in itself – reportedly, the players took part in a secret ballot to decide who the responsibility should be given too, on which the 48-year-old was said to have based his decision – but it was Xhaka who was given the honour.
It didn’t take long for it to look like a huge error of judgement. The initial reaction was far from positive from supporters, but it was during the home match against Crystal Palace where things peaked. In the 61st minute, he was subbed off, with the score at 2-2 after the Gunners had thrown away a 2-0 lead. His departure was met by boos throughout the stadium, at which point the former FC Basel man cupped his hands to his ears, threw his shirt on the ground and shouted expletives at the supporters.
Just a few days later, he was stripped of the armband.
In December, it looked as though Xhaka would be out of the door during the January window – his agent said terms had been agreed with Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin.
The club from the German capital received a €125m (£114m) investment last year, which saw them spend heavily at the start of 2020 – no other club in Europe parted with more than their €78m (£71.1m). However, their spending spree does not indicate that they are one of the country’s big powerhouses – they are currently 13th in the Bundesliga table and have won just two major trophies since the formation of the German league in its current form in 1963.
The fact that there was any talk of him joining a club that is miles below Arsenal in terms of stature shows just how low his stock has fallen.
It is fair to say that Xhaka is not a popular figure in north London. Fans have constantly questioned his performances in recent times, which in part led to his reaction in that match against Palace earlier on this season.
It is not just supporters who have questioned him – pundits have also given him plenty of criticism. Last year, Chris Sutton was particularly scathing of his him following his showing against Tottenham (BBC 5 Live via football.london). He said: “The issue for Arsenal – and how many years have we said this – it isn’t going forward, it is defensively, I thought David Luiz had a shocker and Granit Xhaka, you just can’t trust him, he is a liability in an Arsenal shirt.”
It doesn’t get much worse than that, and that amount of judgement from those who comment on the game is only going to hurt his monetary value.