Arsene Wenger has said that Granit Xhaka is beginning to settle into the team and that he will become a key player at the Emirates. The midfielder hasn’t exactly been a first-team regular since his big-money move in the summer but that could be about to change.
Arsene Wenger sat alongside Granit Xhaka for his pre-match press conference and used the time to discuss how the Swiss international has settled in North London. The pair were quizzed about why Xhaka hasn’t exactly been given that much time on the pitch this season but Wenger explained that it was normal.
“I believe he has the usual adjustment when you come to a new club,” Wenger told Arsenal.com. “It’s a different league with big competition for places, but I believe he kept his focus, doing the job every day.
“I believe he has adjusted well to the intensity of the game and the intensity of the duals in the middle of the park, he has the stature to do that.
“He can bring us a good balance between offensive efficiency and defensively as well. I think he has already improved a lot.”
Xhaka did feature at the weekend, playing 90 minutes in the 5-1 demolition of West Ham and the Swiss international seems to be biding his time before he becomes a first-team regular.
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“Well actually it’s normal to come to a new club, a new country that you need to get used to a new language,” Xhaka said.
“[You need to] get used to the coach and the philosophy of the coach and of the whole team. I feel very happy and I do feel very comfortable there and I know what potential I’ve got. In football, you just need to wait and develop yourself.
“I feel very happy and I do feel very comfortable there and I know what potential I’ve got. In football, you just need to wait and develop yourself.”
Xhaka is, of course, coming up against his former side. The midfielder came through the youth ranks at FC Basel and spent two seasons in the first-team before his 2012 move to Borussia Monchengladbach.
“I do feel very, very well [being here],” he went on. “I was born and raised here in Basel.
“I played in the youth team and had two-and-a-half great years here winning the championship.
“What comes to my mind was the [Champions League] game against Manchester United [in 2011/12]. It was a real highlight for the fans, for the club and for the city to see United being sent home.
“Back then [with Basel] I was 19 so I learned my lessons, and I’ve learned many things since then. No matter whether you go to England, coming from Germany or France or wherever, you have to prove yourself in the league you’re playing in.
“But being back home is a great feeling. I hope I can take positive feelings back to England tomorrow.”
Arsenal will be hoping to take back three points to England tomorrow as well. The Gunners need to better PSG’s result against Ludogorets and while all three points may not be enough, all Granit Xhaka and Arsenal can do is win the match and hope for the best.