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Granit Xhaka is now officially an Arsenal player, with the Swiss international giving a number of interviews following the completion of his move. He insists that the more aggressive nature and the lax refereeing of the Premier League suits his style of play far more, and claims he’s ready to get stuck into the English top flight, as reported by the Daily Mail.
The 23-year-old says that he loves the style of play in England, as he loves to fight and make tough tackles. That wasn’t always possible in Germany as he believes the referees are far more strict, but in the Premier League he seems to think he could get away with far more.
“I like the style of football in the Premier League,” Xhaka said.
“It’s a fight. I like that but Arsenal can also play football and that’s very good.
“In Germany you can play aggressively but the referee will always blow his whistle, but in England that’s not the case. That’s better for me.”
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We certainly see a very different style of refereeing in England when compared to some of the other leagues, although Germany is not the country that springs to mind when soft fouls and diving enters the conversation.
Xhaka is looking forward to letting his aggressive side out though, which in Germany has been more of a hindrance than a positive. His temper and aggression has gotten him into some real trouble in the past, but clearly he doesn’t think that will be a problem in England.
He also highlighted his leadership qualities, which is something he’ll be hoping to bring to Arsenal too.
“I’m an aggressive player and also a leader. I’m only 23 but I captained a good team in Germany,” Xhaka continued.
“When I was younger, even though I had a big brother, my parents would give me the house key every day.
“It’s in my head that I am a leader and captaining Monchengladbach was very good for me.”
Aggression is certainly something we need at Arsenal, although obviously it needs to be contained aggression as opposed to wild challenges and red cards. Francis Coquelin is really the only midfielder we’ve got who throws himself into tackles and regularly gets stuck in, so understandably we’ve been accused of being lightweight in the past.
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Hopefully Xhaka hits the ground running at Arsenal and settles in quickly, and finds that the English game suits him as much as he seems to think it will.