Arsenal have signed Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach for an undisclosed fee. UEFA.com learns a little more about the 23-year-old.
They say …
“He is the one who carries all the responsibility, a typical, aggressive leader. Xhaka doesn’t always do the right thing but when he does make a mistake, he takes responsibility for it. That’s why he has all the requirements to be a captain.”
André Schubert, Mönchengladbach coach
“Granit has the ambition and the confidence to make it all the way to the top at international level. From a mental point of view he is ready to guide a team in the right direction. You can feel his respect for the older leaders in the team. I take that as a sign of his social intelligence. He doesn’t look for conflict, he looks for responsibility.”
Vladimir Petković, Switzerland coach
“Granit Xhaka is an exciting young player who already has good Champions League and Bundesliga experience. We have been watching him for a long time and he is a player who will add quality to our squad. We wish Granit a good EURO 2016 with Switzerland and look forward to welcoming him to Arsenal ahead of next season.”
Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
Born and bred in Basel, Xhaka joined the city’s biggest club aged ten after spending his earlier years at Concordia. For a teenager, he was already remarkably athletic and resilient, allowing him to make his senior Basel debut in a UEFA Champions League qualifier against Debrecen, in which he also scored his first goal.
Subsequently he was often linked with a move abroad, but it was Borussia Mönchengladbach who secured his services in 2012. That was 12 months after his first appearance for Switzerland, for whom he has collected 41 caps and counting.
Playing style …
Xhaka is a typical box-to-box player who leaves everything on the pitch. He is aggressive and has great timing in the tackle, with his physical style often intimidating opponents. That determination to win the ball can also lead to early bookings and has caused him problems in the past.
In addition, his passing range is outstanding and made him such a valuable player at Mönchengladbach in the attacking transition. Blessed with a fierce shot, he can also be a weapon at free-kicks. Most importantly, though, Xhaka is a born leader – taking responsibility, lifting colleagues in adversity and carrying a whole team where necessary.
He says …
“I have a childhood dream and that dream is the Premier League. It doesn’t matter if I play one second or over 100 matches in England, I just want to fulfil that childhood dream one day.”
Granit Xhaka in action for Switzerland
“I have always been someone who takes responsibility. When I was in nursery, it was me and not my older brother who would carry the house key.”
“I am a person who sets long-term goals, ones you can’t reach overnight. It will always be my goal to play for one of the top clubs in Europe. Whether this works out or not, we will have to see.”
“I am a person who will make occasional mistakes. But I am also the type who will learn from them.”