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Roy Keane has slammed Granit Xhaka for the “unbelievable” contrast between his form for Arsenal and Switzerland.
Xhaka joined the Gunners from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016 but has failed to live up to his early potential in north London, courting criticism for his reckless tackling and inability to dictate the play.
By contrast, the 28-year-old is Switzerland’s lynchpin, with his man-of-the-match performance against France in the round-of-16 offering a snapshot of the player Arsenal fans thought they were getting.
Speaking on ITV, Keane noted the difference in Xhaka’s quality when he’s wearing the red of Switzerland compared to the red of Arsenal.
He said: “Xhaka has been poor for Arsenal for a number of seasons but when he plays for Switzerland he is unbelievable.
“He will be a massive loss to them, he has been excellent, but you do get a lot more time on the ball in international football and that may play a part in it.”
Fellow pundit Graeme Souness echoed those views, drawing attention to Xhaka’s woeful disciplinary record in the Premier League.
“He was booked 42 times in five seasons at Arsenal”, Souness began.
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“You would have thought at his age he would have learnt and matured. He came from the Bundesliga with the same reputation.
“I never fancied him at Arsenal, he regularly neglected the basics, but when you have a barnet like that, you need to play well and he has at this tournament.”
Xhaka’s future remains up in the air with the Swiss star heavily linked with a move away from the Emirates this summer.
According to football.london AS Roma are close to signing the midfielder for a fee in the region of £20million.
And Xhaka offered a big hint that a deal might be close after being asked by reports if he knew any Italian.
He said: “If I speak Italian? Not yet…In Rome there are many good schools where you can learn the language.
“I learned English, I can also learn Italian, it’s always important to know foreign languages.
“Now I’m an Arsenal player, everyone knows what Roma represent. Let’s see.”
- Arsenal FC
- Euro 2020
- Premier League
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