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Opinion: £17.3m ace's prolonged Arsenal career amplified the club's mediocre standards

Recent reports have claimed that Arsenal ace Granit Xhaka is nearing a transfer to AS Roma.

According to Football.London, the midfielder has agreed on a five-year contract with the Italian side. The fee for the ace is thought to be in the region of €20m (£17.3m).

It will be a step back for Mikel Arteta, who is already light in midfield. Xhaka was one of just three senior central players following Dani Ceballos’ return to Real Madrid.

However, his imminent exit leaves Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey as the club’s only central midfielders.

Joe Willock has returned from his loan spell at Newcastle United, however, there is no clarity over his future.

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Amid the Switzerland international’s departure, questions need to be asked about the longevity of his stay.

Since, Xhaka first walked through the doors of the Emirates Stadium, it’s been clear he’s not good enough.

Why, has it taken, almost five years to move him on?

Xhaka’s prolonged stay at the Emirates Stadium has amplified the mediocre standards.

He’s been a central figure for this club since his arrival back in 2016. Almost every possession of play goes through the 29-year-old, who is at the heart of the action.

However, his time at the club goes hand-in-hand with the sluggish build-up play.

The former Basel man has always been reprimanded for needing too much time on the ball. He’s also been caught in possession far too often, sometimes leading to red cards.

Xhaka was fairly consistent from December onwards last term. His performances earned him a place in CIES’ Premier League team of the season.

However, there was still an air of inconsistency about the Gunners in the final third. The midfielder, who spent most of the time on the ball proved slow in possession.

It’s part and parcel of the reason why Arsenal were sluggish in attack. Arteta’s men scored just 55 goals last season, the team’s lowest total since the 1995/1996 campaign.

Xhaka has been a faithful servant since his transfer to Arsenal. However, questions need to be asked about how he’s lasted so long. It’s been fairly obvious the outfit have needed an upgrade, leaving question marks over his five-year stay.

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