Granit Xhaka, Arsenal’s biggest signing of the transfer window so far, will make his debut during Thursday’s preseason friendly against the Major League All-Stars (via Metro).
The 23-year-old midfielder joined the Gunners for £30million from Borussia Monchengladbach, where he was club captain after four seasons with the German side.
“It’s a dream come true,” Xhaka told Arsenal.com, speaking about his move to North London.
Great things are expected of the young man, who has been described by former Bayern Munich coach and statesman of German football Ottmar Hitzfeld as a young Bastian Schweinsteiger. On the Swiss’ inclusion into the squad for the upcoming match, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said simply, “‘Granit Xhaka will play a part on Thursday.”
The former Swiss League young player of the year, who became a full international at just 18, is credited with being one of the key reasons Borussia Monchengladbach were able to secure a top-four finish last season. Apart from his creativity in the middle of the part, pundits also often highlight his capabilities as a leader, something which which will be especially welcome at Arsenal, where it has at times felt like no one is taking charge on the pitch.
All these qualities and more should be on display when he hits the turf in San Jose against the finest the MLS has to offer. Although just a friendly, it will be a chance for Xhaka to make an impression, with the likes of Giroud, Sanchez and Ozil all still away through injury or rest after international duty. He’ll be lining up against some fine opposition too, in the form of Didier Drogba, David Villa, Kaka and Andrea Pirlo.
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As if that weren’t enough reason to tune in, we’ll also get to see Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere in action. Summer signing Rob Holding could also feature, given recent news that centre-back Per Mertesacker is out for five months.