Granit Xhaka went through hell and earth to earn the plaudits of Arsenal fans during his time in north London.

It was a remarkable stint at the Emirates for the Swiss who played under three managers having initially been brought in by Arsene Wenger.

He was the backbone of the side with the Frenchman as his tutor but enjoyed a less successful spell under Unai Emery. The infamous booing and tossing of the armband to the floor looked as though it meant he'd never play for the club again.

Yet, his character is tough, perhaps one of the sternest we've seen in this part of London. He fought back and after taking his leave earlier this month, will go down as a cult hero among supporters.

How many goals did Xhaka score for Arsenal?

Under Mikel Arteta, he became one of the most influential midfielders in the Premier League, this time for all the right reasons.

Granit Xhaka

Xhaka may well have still received three red cards while the Spaniard was in charge for 147 of his Arsenal outings, but 12 of his 23 strikes in Gunners colours also came during that time.

Indeed, his most prolific term was in 2022/23, finding the net on nine occasions while also supplying seven assists from his role as a number 8.

Although this position meant the Switzerland international could burst forward to join the attack with far more regularly than we had ever seen from him, the defensive side of his game wasn't neglected either.

He made the role his own and after departing for Bayer Leverkusen, Arteta has a difficult job on his hands. Who will replace Xhaka in his system? Declan Rice? Kai Havertz? Think again, it could well be a wild card pick.

Who will replace Xhaka at Arsenal?

When Havertz arrived through the door from Chelsea, Arteta immediately stated that he was pleased to bolster his midfield options. Indeed, as the season pans out, he may well operate in that number eight role.

As too may Rice, although his best qualities are perhaps best showcased in a holding role. That said, he has the carrying ability to play to a high level in Xhaka's role as a no.8.

In the last few seasons, the former West Ham captain's ability to carry things forward has improved significantly. In 2018/19, he ranked inside the worst 21% in the division among midfielders for progressive carries yet last term, the England international sat in the best 17% in the entire top-flight. Some progress.

To put that number into context, Havertz sat inside the best 39% for progressive carries, but among forward players in the Premier League throughout 2022/23.

Whether Arteta is able to extract the most out of the German in a deeper role remains to be seen. Should that not be the plan then he could turn to a man who ranked inside the top 13% of forwards in the English top division for progressive carries last campaign; Leandro Trossard.

The Belgian has been a phenomenal signing for the Gunners after arriving in January for a bargain £27m fee.

He posted ten assists in just 22 outings, perhaps outlining him as the perfect man for a role in the middle of the park.

Trossard has reportedly been training in the number 8 role and he has twice featured there in pre-season now. It wasn't until the 5-0 drubbing over the MLS All Stars, however, that Arteta's vision started to be realised.

How did Trossard perform against MLS All Stars?

Although it won't go down as an official goal, the 28-year-old fired home his second goal for the club in that rout on Thursday morning.

The effervescent Bukayo Saka cut inside nicely from the right as he does before laying the ball off to Trossard. In true Santi Cazorla fashion, he checked the ball onto his right foot before curling home a delicious effort from outside the box.

Trossard vs MLS

Throughout the game, the former Brighton ace picked up nice pockets of space and showcased, albeit against poor opposition, that he could be the answer to Arsenal's midfield depth in the new season.

All in all, Arsenal's number 19 completed 82% of his passes, created one big chance, succeeded with 100% of his dribble attempts and won four duels in what was a complete 56-minute performance.

One prominent club writer even went as far as to declare the attacking midfielder had been "outrageous".

There is still plenty of work to do for Trossard to make that position his own but he clearly has the faith of his manager. That could well be key when the season kicks off against Nottingham Forest next month. Watch this space.