Arsenal’s summer signing Granit Xhaka has earned rave reviews for his early showings in England and Arsene Wenger has admitted the versatile midfielder already reminds him of Emmanuel Petit.
Xhaka joined the Gunners for a fee of around £30million from Borussia Monchengladbach this summer and many tipping the 23-year-old to captain the north London outfit in the future.
And, despite breaking an unwanted Premier League record on his debut, Wenger has likened the Switzerland international to a club great just three games into the 2016/17 campaign.
“He is a guy who plays naturally behind the ball. He is a bit similar to Petit in the way he plays football,” Wenger said.
“He likes to sit, give good long balls and be available with the centre-backs.
“I believe he has a good mixture of short and long balls, in midfield it is important for us to sometimes stretch the opposition defenders.
“We have a game that is based on shorter passes than other teams so sometimes you have to have a player who can kick the longer ball which gives us a chance to get some oxygen and some space.”
However, the highly-rated midfielder, who was left on the bench for much of his side’s 4-3 defeat to Liverpool in their league opener, was thrown on as his side’s afternoon was unravelling.
And to be fair to the Swiss international, he did make Premier League history in the 24 minutes he was on the field. Just not in the way he probably wanted.
Some fans believe the 23-year-old will bring the steel which has long been lacking from Arsenal’s midfield. And Xhaka showed he was up for the fight, making six tackles during his brief cameo.
Unfortunately for the Swiss midfielder, none was successful. In fact, he committed four fouls, the most of any player in the opening weekend of a Premier League game ever. And he was given a yellow card for his troubles, too.