Arsenal defender and senior statesman Per Mertesacker has taken no time in heaping praise on new signing Granit Xhaka, calling him the perfect signing.
Xhaka was signed by Arsenal from Borussia Monchengladbach nearly two months ago, for an estimated fee of 32 million pounds. He later went on to win 3 man-of-the-match awards out of 4 matches played for Switzerland in UEFA Euro 2016, putting in stellar performances in midfield.
He has kept behind the disappointment of missing the penalty that caused Switzerland’s exit from Euros, to join Arsenal in its pre-season tour ahead of a crucial first season in England for him. And there can be no bigger motivation than receiving appreciation from the man who is dubbed to fill the shoes left vacant by departing Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker.
The big German defender has called Xhaka a leader in midfield. He has referred to him as the perfect signing for the club and is looking forward to seeing him set the tone for Arsenal’s midfield.
Mertesacker has also appreciated his attitude towards the game, and the level of composure he shows in having the ball and passing it around.
“I don’t know him personally but that doesn’t matter, we will get along with each other very quickly because he is a good player and has done so much for Borussia Monchengladbach”
“He can speak German as well, so it will be joy to get his first year going and help him bed in as a player.”
“He’s a leader and that is really important, especially in midfield. He has got a very good attitude, is very composed on the ball and contributes a lot.
“He is a good passer as well, so he will set the tempo. I am looking forward to how he does it, how composed he will be in training and in the games. He will be the perfect signing for us.”
Quite clearly, Mertesacker thrives at the fact that Xhaka speaks German. While Arsene Wenger does speak German, the language of communication at Arsenal is predominantly English. Having another person to speak to in his first language must come as a respite considering the void left by Lukas Podolski after his departure.
Not only that, Arsenal need not worry about losing a midfield leader in Mikel Arteta as they have gained one in Granit Xhaka. It’s now three big men in Arsenal’s spine, with Giroud being the other one.