Arsenal have been in a really poor run of form in the Premier League during the past couple of weeks and the pressure was intensified further this weekend when midfielder Granit Xhaka was shown a red card.
Granit Xhaka was seen holding Ashley Westwood by the neck, following which he was given the marching order and immediately after this the debate of who will replace the Swiss international has come to the forefront – once again.
Many pundits think Mikel Arteta will have to get back into the transfer market to find a long-term replacement for Granit Xhaka but Martin Keown has other ideas.
According to the former Gunner, 23-year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be the perfect solution to all the ongoing midfield problems.
He wrote in the Daily Mail: “Arsenal are still searching for the right balance in centre midfield, unlike Spurs, who have the perfect duo in Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Moussa Sissoko, prepared to go to war for their manager.
“Which brings me to Granit Xhaka. Of course, he will be under fire after Sunday’s sending-off against Burnley, and rightly so.
“He just does not get around the pitch quickly enough. He has made some huge mistakes — so many in fact you would be surprised if there is a way back under Arteta.
“If the experienced players cannot do it, it is time to trust a youngster in the heart of midfield. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is an England player and he was superb in that position against Rapid Vienna. He has great pace, is good in possession and can defend.”
Can Maitland-Niles replace Granit Xhaka?
Granit Xhaka will miss the next couple of matches due to the suspension meaning Maitland-Niles is sure to get more game time in the English top division.
And if the 23-year-old can really impress his manager during these outings then there’s every chance that Xhaka will be shown the door during the January transfer window.
There’s no denying Arteta will have to bring in some fresh faces over the next couple of transfer windows but if someone like Maitland-Niles can be the replacement to Granit Xhaka then the manager will be saving a lot of money in the market.
This is not the first time the Swiss international has been on the verge of an exit but we are pretty sure Arteta is not going to hold onto him any longer.