Days after signing for Arsenal from Borussia Monchengladbach, midfielder Granit Xhaka will showcase his talents on the grand stage after making Switzerland’s squad for this summer’s European Championship. Having already made more than 40 caps for his country by the age of 23, Xhaka’s place in the side wasn’t in doubt, but his new fans will be able to see exactly what he will bring to the Arsenal side in 2016/17.
Boasting the strength and defensive discipline of Nemanja Matic (Chelsea), as well as the vision and balance of Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain), Xhaka is a curious player. He’s very combative and has been guilty of crossing the line with his challenges at times, but he has a fantastic eye for a pass when he gets his head up. The former FC Basel man is a key player in the Switzerland, regarded as one of their best imports since Xherdan Shaqiri.
Xhaka wears the #10 shirt for his country, and is given more freedom to affect the game in the final third at times. He’s scored six goals for Switzerland, and will be one of the side’s chief creators with his range of passing. The Arsenal man has enjoyed international success with the Swiss national team too, winning the U17 World Cup in 2009 and the U21 European Championships in 2011.
Switzerland are dark horses in this summer’s Euros, enjoying an outstanding qualifying campaign to make it this far – 10 games, 7 wins – so they shouldn’t be underestimated. The combative qualities and rugged attributes of Granit Xhaka will ensure Switzerland don’t have a soft, exploitable centre this summer, and Arsenal fans are sure to enjoy watching his performances. Racking up the tackles and interceptions, Xhaka will be providing the protection to the defence that Arsenal have sorely lacked for many years.
Despite still being only 23, the defensive midfielder is one of the most experienced players in the squad with how many games he’s played for Switzerland in such a short space of time. His first international appearance came in 2011, and now he sees the likes of Gokhan Inler (Leicester City) unable to make the squad, partly due to his rise to prominence in a similar role.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is sure to be paying attention to the £30M-man’s fortunes in this summer’s European Championships too, so he’ll be hoping Granit Xhaka enjoys a good tournament and keeps fit ahead of his switch to the Emirates Stadium.