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Paul Merson says Arsenal have a 'massive' player in their ranks who 'does not let you down'

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has been praised by Gunners legend Paul Merson, who says the 28-year-old “does not let you down”, and suggested he should be in Mikel Arteta’s future plans.

The Switzerland international joined Arsenal in 2016 from Borussia Monchengladbach for £35million and has made 218 appearances for the North Londoners.

Xhaka has made 43 appearances for Arteta’s side this season, including as a makeshift left-back in the absence of Kieran Tierney.

(Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Merson told Sky Sports this week that the Arsenal boss should build his team around some of the club’s talented youngsters, but also name-checked Saka as being important.

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“The young players at the club are crucial,” he said.

“We have mentioned Saka and Smith Rowe but there’s Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Martinelli and Joe Willock, who is doing well at Newcastle.

“They are the ones. There are four or five great young players there and you build around that.

“There’s also Granit Xhaka and I know he gets a little bit of stick, but he does not let you down in my opinion.

“I would rather have him on the pitch than not at Arsenal. He’s a massive trier and he cares but it’s just about getting the right characters there and making the right decisions.”

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While Xhaka does try hard and has done well overall at Arsenal, he continues to split opinion amongst the fanbase as to whether he’s the kind of player who can take the club forward.

Also, it may be tricky for him to be in Arteta’s future plans as there’s been speculation linking him with a move this summer, with the likes of The Athletic and Sky Germany reporting that he’s interested in leaving the club.

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