3 holding midfielders that struggled at Arsenal

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Arsenal have now completed the signing of Swiss international Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach for an undisclosed fee. The midfielder is exactly the type of player the Gunners have been crying out for for years and he could be crucial to helping Arsene Wenger's men return to the summit of English football next season.

Since Patrick Viera the club have tried their best to land a bulldozing central midfielder, only for new signings to fail to take to life in north London.

Here are three midfielders that Xhaka will be hoping to avoid comparisons with during his time in English football.


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Mention the name Denilson to Arsenal fans, and most will roll their eyes or tut.

The Brazilian was expected to emulate the brilliant performances of compatriot Gilberto Silva, but struggled in the spotlight and never looked remotely like delivering the same quality as the 2002 World Cup winner.

He was involved in just 24 goals during his 153 games for the Gunners and returned to first club Sao Paulo in 2011 where he has failed to win a single trophy.

Denilson is now plying his trade in Abu Dhabi with Al-Wahda FC at the age of 28 having left last summer.

Alex Song

For years, it looked as though Alex Song would be a worthy heir to Vieira, but though the Cameroon international impressed at the Emirates he failed to help the Gunners end their agonising wait for a league title.

The 28-year-old was a regular in Arsene Wenger’s starting line-up between the years of 2008 and 2012, yet left for La Liga after Gerard Martino’s Barcelona came calling.

His move to the Nou Camp has haunted him ever since, and he struggled to oust the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets from the team during his two seasons in Catalonia before joining West Ham on loan in 2014.

Song was key under old boss Sam Allardyce but struggled under Slaven Bilic, and a return to the capital this summer is not thought to be in the offing.

Mathieu Flamini

Mathieu Flamini returned to Arsenal in 2013, five years after first leaving the club for Serie A titans AC Milan, but was never quite able to replicate the same performances shown at Highbury at the Emirates.

The Frenchman, who will be a free agent this summer, made just 24 appearances throughout all competitions this season, his lowest tally for a season since his final one at Milan.

Flamini has been a loyal servant over the years but his indiscipline has often proved to be an Achilles heel.

However, don’t feel sorry for him. His shrewd eye for business off the field could make him one of the richest retired footballers in the game when the time comes to hang up his boots.

Can Xhaka help inspire Arsenal to win the Premier League next season? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!

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Thierry Henry
Premier League
Arsene Wenger

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