Over the last three days I’ve seen some sniping about the price that Arsenal have reportedly paid for Xhaka. This sniping is coming from both internal fans and from external fans. In other words, Arsenal supporters and others are asking whether the Price is Right for Xhaka.
Morgan Schneiderlin is 26 years old and he was sold from Southampton to Man U for £25m last season. With add-ons Schneiderlin will cost £27m. The reported price for Xhaka is the same, £25m and with add-ons the price could rise to £30m. Both players are set to earn roughly the same salary as well, though I’ve heard Xhaka’s salary could be as high as £120k a week. I think his salary depends on how Arsenal structure their bonuses but I honestly don’t care.
Schneiderlin and Xhaka are similar players. Both are ball-playing CMs who take their defensive duties seriously. Both make 2.4 tackles per game and tackle at a 75% rate. Both make 2.5 (2.7 for Xhaka) interceptions a game. Xhaka wins a lot more aerial duels than Schneiderlin (3.4/ 5.9 v. 0.7 of 1.7) but that is in the Bundesliga and we will need to keep an eye on his AD success rate in the Premier League.
Schneiderlin saw a lot less of the ball (50 passes per game v. Xhaka’s almost 83) than Xhaka did at BMG, where Xhaka was the main man in midfield. But both players make the long pass at a great rate, with Schneidi hitting 72% and Xhaka 67%, and owing to his having the ball a lot more, Xhaka completed more than twice as many long passes. I expect Xhaka’s pass % to increase at Arsenal and his long ball numbers to drop a bit but for him to be more successful with them.
Xhaka makes more fouls (2.6 v. 1.8) but there are a ton of reasons why that could be happening including team set up (he played as the 1 in a 4-1-4-1 for a while this season) and his aggressive nature.
If you remember last summer Arsenal made the same offer as Man U for Schneiderlin but Schneidi chose Man U and not playing in the Champions League. Well, United played in the Champions League and lost in the easiest group ever formed in the history of the competition. United won’t have Champions League football next season, however.
£30m seems to be about the asking price for these types of players for clubs like Arsenal. What I mean by that is that Premier League teams pay a premium now. Everyone knows that Premier League teams are awash with money and so they can ask for more when a team like Leicester come in for their players. But on top of that premium is the “top club premium”. So, clubs like Leicester can get a player like Inler for £5m but if Arsenal looked at the same player, he’d probably cost £15m. In fact, six years ago (when he was only 24) Arsenal bid £8m for Inler and he rejected the move.
And that’s another key consideration with Xhaka, he’s only 23 years old (he will be 24 this fall) and Schneiderlin will be 27 a month after Xhaka turns 24. That means that if Arsenal sign him for 5 years, like they love to do, he will be just 28 when his contract expires. He’s still a resellable property at that age. Schneiderlin would not be. He will be 31 at the end of his 5 year deal. .
Somewhere along the line fans have become accountants. Everyone seems to have some “valuation” of every player in the world. With every transfer these days people have a comment on the price: too much, not enough, good deal, bad deal, etc.
And with Arsenal in particular this is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. If Wenger offers £20m and we don’t get Xhaka people will complain that Wenger was being cheap and say that “David Dein would have just gone and got the player.” If we pay £25-30m, people will complain about how BMG “got one over on Arsenal” because in their mind Xhaka isn’t worth more than £15m or as I have actually heard people say “Bayern Munich wouldn’t pay that much for him.”
Maybe not, but that’s what arsenal needed to pay to get a top quality CM in the team. Call it inflation, call it the Premier League Premium, or be like me and don’t worry about the price because it’s not like Arsenal are going bankrupt any time soon and call it “a done deal”.
Now, if Arsenal could sew up a £50m deal for Morata or Lukaku and then get in a great, young Center Back for another £20m, we would have the makings of a fine young team for next season.