In July 2023, after 7 years with the Emirates Stadium team, midfielder Granit Xhaka officially left Arsenal to play for Bayer Leverkusen. The price for the “Gunners” to nod is about 25 million euros. Up to now, this can be considered a wise decision by the Swiss player.
Since the appointment of coach Xabi Alonso last October, Bayer Leverkusen has made great progress. From a position at the bottom of the Bundesliga rankings, they won a spot in the Europa League when the 2022/2023 season ends. This achievement brings a lot of hope and positive signals to the fans as well as the team’s leadership.
Entering this season, Bayer Leverkusen became a phenomenon in the Bundesliga with a series of unbeaten matches, thereby topping the rankings. While Victor Boniface, Florian Wirtz and Jonas Hofmann attracted media attention, Granit Xhaka played a quieter role. Xabi Alonso needs a leader in the midfield and the former Arsenal player is doing that very well.
Thanks to his composure and extensive playing experience, the 31-year-old immediately had a significant impact on Bayer Leverkusen’s young, enthusiastic team of players. Although he has not contributed any goals or assists, what Granit Xhaka brings is much more than that. He is the trump card in the midfield that the Spanish teacher has long wanted.
Only Bayern Munich’s Kim Min-jae has had more touches of the ball in the Bundesliga than the Swiss midfielder (738). In addition, Granit Xhaka’s total distance traveled up to now is up to 81.3 km, the longest in the Bayer Leverkusen squad alone. The former “Gunner” owns a successful pass rate of up to 93.4%, the fourth highest in the tournament, and wins 52% of duels.
Granit Xhaka’s strongest point lies in his fighting spirit. Every time he steps on the field, the star born in 1992 devotes himself to the team. He can often be seen interacting with his teammates, offering words of encouragement when needed. In particular, the midfielder wearing shirt number 34 also helps Exequiel Palacios improve himself in a position where this player previously struggled to find stability.
Leaving Arsenal at a time when the North London club is gradually gaining stability is not necessarily a wise decision for Granit Xhaka. However, moving to Bayer Leverkusen is not a bad idea. Here, he has new missions, with coach Xabi Alonso and his teammates challenging for titles. No matter what shirt he plays in, the Swiss midfielder still shows his value.
Huy Truong | 07:47 October 17, 2023