As signings go, Granit Xhaka to Arsenal couldn’t have been more perfect.
The deep lying playmaker, capable of spreading passes left, right and centre, is the ideal man to sit in front of Arsène Wenger’s defence, sweep up the ball and get an attack going again.
The excitement surrounding his signing at the beginning of the summer was huge, and arriving for just under £40m comes with a lot of expectations, but so far so good.
Currently on international duty with Switzerland as they get their World Cup Qualifiers underway against Portugal, the midfielder took some time to speak to Appenzeller Zeitung about his first impressions at Arsenal.
On his first time meeting Wenger, he said: “It was just pure excitement. I was extremely nervous. He has an incredible charisma. You look at him and just know: ‘Wow, this man has achieved and experienced so much’. The respect for him is enormous.”
However, the Swiss midfielder explained the Frenchman wasn’t the most chatty of managers, claiming he’d only spoken to him two or three times, but that each time, it had been positive, with Wenger praising him for his training dedication, his behaviour and discipline.
Eager to learn as much as possible from people at the club, he knows he will be in for a tough time to cement a starting spot in the squad: “One cannot allow any downtime, or you’ll end up on the bench instantly. Every exercise must be done at full exertion.”
Xhaka also revealed what the weekly routine at the club was: “Every Monday, we have jump tests to check our muscle condition. You can’t hide. Once a week, urine tests are done and the percentage of body fat is checked regularly. The doctors don’t miss anything”.
Already a talent at Gladbach, who knows how far Xhaka can go with Arsenal, but fans are undoubtedly excited to find out, and, to be fair, so are we.