Arsenal’s first signing of the summer, Granit Xhaka, has created a buzz already even before he has stepped onto the field. The Swiss international moved to Arsenal from Borussia Monchengladbach for a hefty fee as he made the transition from the Bundesliga to The Premier League. Still only 23, Xhaka has already made over 200 (201) appearances in his club career so far. He has played in the Belgium Super League and Bundesliga and will now test himself in the Barclays Premier League.
Granit Xhaka displays the traits on the pitch that Arsenal has lacked for some now since the departure of Patrick Viera. The Swiss international is a real leader on the pitch and his leadership abilities coupled with his brilliant passing and ball winning skills makes him a formidable player who demands respect of his opponents. The greatest strength of the player is, however, his unreal consistency and maturity. Last season, WhoScored.com ratings gave Xhaka an average rating of 7.38 over the 27 times he played as a central midfielder for Monchengladbach and average of 7.11 over the 5 times he was deployed as the defensive midfielder.
The midfielder can control expertly the tempo of the game. Xhaka’s ability to keep things simple is one of the hardest things to find in world football today. He displayed that in the recently concluded Euro Cup 2016 and his control over the midfield yielded him two man of the match awards out of the four games Switzerland played and his consistency was also praised by the experts.
Xhaka can be the perfect midfielder for Arsenal in a true sense. The ability of the 23-year-old to tackle and break attacks, defensive discipline or win back possession along with his passing range and ability to play as a deep-lying playmaker makes him a player who can be paired with Cazorla, Coquelin or even Ramsey. This particular trait would be the thing which had appealed Arsene Wenger the most as the manager always prefers flexibility and tactical efficiency.
The signing of Granit Xhaka thus has great significance. The mere fact that Arsene Wenger contacted him a year ago and told him about his desire to sign him in the future is a testament to the forward thinking and planning of the manager and the club. Having a leader like Xhaka on the pitch is always an asset. When one sees the quality he has, it is a not hard to realise that the player would play a vital role for his club, not just next season but for years to come.
The most important thing however which has pleased me about the Swiss international is his ability to orchestrate proceedings and to keep things simple in the middle third and according to the Legendary Late Johan Cruyff, it is not that easy to do. The Dutchman thus remarked,” Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.”
Arka Tarun Mukherjee
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