David Ornstein believes Arsenal are planning to reintegrate Granit Xhaka into the team in an away game soon.
Xhaka last featured in a match for Arsenal against Crystal Palace, where he provided an assist before losing his head after sarcastic cheers from the fans met his substitution.
Since then, the Swiss international hasn’t even made it into a matchday squad for the Gunners, despite starting twice for his country on international duty.
Some had started to wonder if the 27-year-old had played his last game for Arsenal, but David Ornstein told The Athletic’s The Ornstein and Chapman Podcast that he expects Xhaka to make his return in the near future.
“Yes, I do (think Xhaka will play for Arsenal soon),” Ornstein said. “I think Arsenal would like to reintegrate him into the side. They feel that they’ve suffered in his absence, the balance of the team, the cover that he provides to the defence.
“I think they’ll look to reintegrate him in an away match, rather than a home match, given what’s happened before. But the idea that he’s played his last match for Arsenal, I’m now dissuaded from.”
This suggests Xhaka could be in line to make an appearance against Norwich City on Sunday. That’s the only away game Arsenal have been now and December 9th, and it would give Matteo Guendouzi and/or Lucas Torreira a chance to rest.
With Dani Ceballos’ injury and Joe Willock rarely getting starts, the other two midfielders have become nailed-on starters, but it would obviously be better if they could rotate with Xhaka.
“I’m also keen to point out that people within the club thought really highly of him in terms of his role in the team and around the club,” Ornstein went on.
“Even when he was really being slated widely, people inside the club were telling me ‘you don’t realise how important he is to the team, the structure, the balance, the understanding of tactics’.”
For Unai Emery’s latest comments on a possible return to the side for the midfielder, check out our article with quotes from the current head coach.