Who is Xeka? The midfielder Arsenal could sign on a free transfer

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner 17 Sep 2022 11:11 BST 15 min read
Xeka, Lille, 2021/22

Arsenal could turn to former Lille midfielder Xeka to solve their current midfield headaches.

The Gunners are lacking options in the middle of the park following injuries to Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny, with Albert Sambi Lokonga the man forced to take a step up.

Xeka can be signed outside the transfer window as he has been a free agent since his contract in France expired at the end of June.

But who is the midfielder and what qualities could he bring to Arsenal?

What position does Xeka play?

Xeka is a central midfielder. He is a defensively minded player, who typically shows attributes associated with a holding or ball-winning player.

How good is Xeka?

Xeka impressed during a five-year stint in France, where he became a regular with Lille in Ligue 1, who signed him from Braga for €5m in 2017.

He was a regular player for LOSC as they shocked PSG to win the French title in 2020/21 and scored the winning goal in the Trophee des Champions against the Parisians in the curtain raiser in the following season. However, he is best known for his defensive attributes as the interactive graphic below shows.

Xeka v Ligue 1 midfielders: Prevention

-+ Xeka

His tough-tackling nature is exemplified by the fact that he picked up 12 yellow cards in 30 appearances across Ligue 1 and the Champions League last summer.

Ultimately, the decision to leave Lille in the summer was one the player took, having thought about a new club for more than a year.

“Before the Trophee des Champions, I spoke to the coach and told him I didn’t want to travel for the game. I was thinking about a transfer offer. From where? That’s not important... I played because it could help me win a trophy, and I told myself that if I played well, I could even increase in value,” he told Voix du Sports.

“After the match, I spoke with the president Olivier Letang. We talked about a contract extension or leaving for free in a year, and I thought the second option was right.”

Despite his fine performances in France, though, Xeka is yet to find a club.

What clubs want to sign Xeka?

As well as Arsenal, Rennes have been linked with a move for the midfielder. The Ligue 1 club have seen lynchpin player Baptiste Santamaria picked up a serious ankle injury and they are also in the market for a quick reinforcement.

How old is Xeka?

Xeka’s birthday is 10 November, 1994. He is 27 years old.

What is Xeka’s Instagram?

Xeka’s Instagram page can be found here. He has 99k followers as of September 2022.