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October 2016
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Xhaka speaks; he’s a leader, he’s humble, and he came here because of Wenger.

By Walter Broeckx

With the signing of Xhaka we have a new face in our team. Certainly he is a bit of a special person the more I look at it. And he also is rather funny at times.

He seems like a young confident lad who knows what he is doing. And who can say nice things. If his football qualities are as good as his speaking we might have found a great player.

Granit Xhaka had a press conference for the Schweizerischer Fussballverband (The Swiss FA) and of course lots of talk about his move to Arsenal.

And here are  few quotes from Granit Xhaka during his first press conference:

Let us start with the fact that he might face his older brother when Switzerland play Albania on the European championship. He said : “My brother will be fit for the first game. We will have many one on one’s, but it’s a football game. Nothing more and nothing less.”

Now I must say it is rather strange to see two brothers playing against each other on the highest level but even more when playing for national teams. Both brothers were born in Switzerland as their parents moved to there from Albania. But the older one decided to play for Albania and our Granit opted to play for Switzerland.

Granit said about this : “I have made two great choices: one is Arsenal and the other is Switzerland. Now I have peace of mind.”

So it is clear that he has thought about his choices. Weighing up the options and possibilities and what it would mean. He seems very happy to play for Switzerland and being named their captain at 23 shows how high they rate his capacity not just as a player but also as a leader. Becoming a full international at the age of 19 is also a sign that he really has something in him.

Being someone with both feet on the ground is something that can be recognised in this quote: “Many people forget that I am 23 years old. I am not 30, I am not perfect and I will make mistakes.”

Let’s hope the aaa will remember this when he places his first misplaced pass as an Arsenal player. He is in fact still young and has a whole career ahead of him. Of course at his young age he has already a lot of experience but he is realistic about himself and he knows that he can still improve.

And isn’t that what Wenger finds very attractive in players? Players who realise they can still improve and that is the first step to be able to really improve. So I think it will be important to give him time to grow at Arsenal. If he is an instant success fine and great. But he could take a while to find his feet and I really hope the aaa will not burn him down when things don’t go as planned at first. I think we will back him as we always do with our players certainly when they have a rough time.

About the move itself he said the following things: “I had to keep my mouth shut for the last couple of days, which usually don’t like to do… I am happy that we could agree on this move prior to the EURO. Now I can concentrate on playing football.”

He is a talker. And that sometimes goes together with being a leader. He is a leader as he has shown at “the give us a B” team and in Switzerland. And not being able to speak is something he doesn’t like. So will we have a combination of the skill of Arteta combined with the shouting and running around of Flamini?

As he played firstly for Basel and we also have brought in Elneny from Basel I do want to point out that they didn’t play together at Basel. Xhaka had already left Basel before Elneny joined them. But in the end destiny brought them together at Arsenal.

About Arsenal and living in London he had the following things to say: “I am very happy that my wife is coming with me to London. It’s important to have your loved ones around you, for the good times and for the bad times. English is not a problem for me, but I still have to improve.”

It is important that a footballer can find a good house after a training session or a match and the fact his wife will come with him will give him peace of mind. Much needed when things don’t go well. Of course we hope things go well from the start but having someone around who loves you when you had a bad moment is very important when you live in a foreign country.

And his English is rather good as we all could hear in his first interview. I think Switzerland being a country with many languages makes people from Switzerland more open to learning other languages and apart from his Swiss accent he already speaks English very fluently. But again I detect a will to improve. Excellent!

About Arsenal he had this to say: “I always liked Arsenal’s way of playing football. Simply nice to look at.”

So do we Granit, so do we. And we hope you can contribute to it in the next seasons. Playing football as it should be. With probably a bit of granite to it from now on.

And we kept the best quote for last of course. Something the aaa and the wob will not really like. About Wenger he said: “Arsène is a legend for me. I often had him as a manager on the PlayStation. He’s a gentleman, full stop.”

Despite of all what the aaa and wob think, say and shout… the whole football world admires Wenger for what he has done and they admire the way he has kept Arsenal close to the top in England in the PL and in Europe in the CL. The rest of the football world knows how tough he had it and on the low budget he had to work with. And it is fair to say he has a bit of a legendary status in the football world.

And again we find a player coming to Arsenal saying how important Wenger is for his choice. Özil said the same (repeated it again recently), Alexis said it and now Xhaka said it. The 3 most expensive players Wenger bought for Arsenal. Take note aaa and wob: Wenger does spend when he finds high quality players!

Players do come to Arsenal because Wenger is the boss. Players name Wenger as one of the most important reasons to come to Arsenal. And when players leave Arsenal they never really say that they left because of Wenger. The mention all kinds of reasons but they never say: I left because of that stubborn dictator Wenger.

Smart players who not only look at their bank account but who want to play and who want to improve come to Arsenal because Wenger is our manager. Take note, haters.

New and recent series on the Arsenal History Society Site

And on Untold…



37 comments to Xhaka speaks; he’s a leader, he’s humble, and he came here because of Wenger.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I do hope he reads UA instead of the papers and ‘them’ blogs . May get him up to speed as to the shit that he’ll experience . Hopefully those poster boys and banner men have learned their lesson and will stop their stupidity .
    But positive posters of praise of the manager and players will be most welcome.
    And now I’ll have another reason to watch the EUROS .

  • Notoverthehill

    A good presser, as they say, Walter.

    It would seem that Granit, is a tough cookie, playing on with a cracked rib!

  • young_gunnerz

    Great article. I believe he will be a massive player for us in the upcoming season. Let’s have more big signings theis summer and we will have the league.

  • Ajay

    I just read two articles on our newest addition to the Gooners. One over here by Walter and another at a site called Le Grove. The difference between the two is that Walter over here has put it so elegantly and positively about a player who just came in and admires Wenger and the club. And then you have Le Grove author already taking beef simply because he has this hatred of Wenger and his signings. And there are monkey raisins who agree to it. This site is what being a fan is all about. Keep going strong authors of the site, it’s like a breath of fresh air in a polluted city.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    What is the use of visiting Legrove as it is an Anti Arsenal blog.
    I discontinued visiting there as soon as i found out that its only motive is to discredit the club the players and the manager at all costs.Now i stay away.
    Tks i found UA.

  • norman14


    Why bother reading on sites that publish stuff you don’t like?

    By visiting, you simply give them the hits that make them think their opinion is worth something.

  • dan

    Manu just appointed the cancerous one.

  • Usama Zaka

    Ajay, the replies from Rosicky@Arsenal and norman14 are positive for you in a slightly strict manner 🙂

    Now that you have found what sort of a deluded and pointless site that is, you are warmly welcomed here 🙂

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Poor United fans.Some gloss for a year or two followed by another dark spell.
    It would have been better for them to appoint a long term manager as Mourinhio is always a shot term solution.

  • colario

    sometimes I am ashamed to be English. I am very angry at the moment. I come from reading an article about Granit Xhaka in The Guardian.

    It provides us a biop of the player and what a good tough player he is. The guardian admits that Arsene has made a good signing.

    But the ‘gutter paper Guardian can’t let go of being a member of the English gutter press. So in the last paragraph we are told how bad a manager Arsene is for not having signed players like Granit Xhaka before. This ‘gutter paper’ has the nerve to tell Arsene what to do.

    I am angry with myself for even thinking reading the Gutter Guardian article might be worth reading.

  • Jambug

    Working in Croydon, obviously we have a fair sprinkling of United fans at work, and not one is ‘excited’ about the appointment of the odious one.

    That is even with the fact they think they will win things with him.

    They, like us, to a man, cant stand him.

    They talk about his arrogance and the ‘shit’ he brings.

    They don’t like the way he plays.

    They know he will spend a fortune, on top of the one they have already spent.

    They are worried about the stifling of there youth.

    They just think that there must be other managers out there that would of been a much better fit for United than him.

    One said, “Are we really that desperate” ?

    Alas, it seems you are.

    So win lose or draw it appears very few people outside the Fawning media or Chelsea fans, want anything to do with the man.

  • Josif


    The article could have been quite a good read if they hadn’t mentioned that stupid story about Arsenal not having a “never-die” attitude.

    Arsenal played six league matches against the rest of Top 4.

    We were trailing at some point of the game in FIVE out of those six matches.
    We won three, drew three. Lost none.

    Hell, less than two hours before the season end (before Alexis’ equalizer at Etihad), we had been lying on the fourth spot.

    Not bad for a team with no “never-die” attitude, eh?

  • Josif


    It’s funny but I guess United fans everywhere have their doubts about Mourinho. After all that screaming to kick Van Gaal out of the club, they are surprisingly…not-so-over-the-moon, to put it mildly…with their newest acquisition.

    I wonder why. 🙂

    Maybe because Mourinho – without any credit of his own – will have a chance to win the first trophy in the first competitive match with United against Ranieri’s Leicester (who were his last opponents when he was pretending to be a manager at Chelsea) in Community Shield.

    Maybe because Mourinho will have that chance thanks to goal from Lingard, a player who is likely to be a part of that stifled youth alongside Rashford, Bortwick-Jackson and Fosu-Mensah while Mendes’ clients get expensive contracts at United.

    Maybe because Mourinho will do what even Alex Ferguson didn’t and make United the most hated club in the world by a country mile.

    Maybe because Mourinho will spend 200 million pounds only to end up second in the CITY as Pep Guardiola has shown his superiority over Mourinho in quite a few occasions, with a beautiful football in the process.

    Or, maybe, just maybe because Mourinho’s failure to win anything will show how deep was the mudd in which Alex Ferguson left Manchester United in 2013.

  • Chris

    Seems like nobody notices we have a third worldcup winner at Arsenal

    Yes, Granit Xhaka won the U17 world cup with the Swiss U17 team in 2009.

    They beat Mexico, Japan (he scored), Brasil in the qualifying round
    Then they went on to beat Germany, Italy and Colombia and in the final, Nigeria (host nation).

    One experience not many can say they shared.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Wow Chris even that escaped me… and most of us….

  • @Chris. I remember the match as it was my country Nigeria that they won but honestly never thought of Xhaka being in that Switzerland team.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Really look forward to seeing how Granit does.
    As for the haters, I would imagine they have hardly noticed this transfer, after what I have seen on some of their forums in recent months, they will be in the depths of depression that Wenger has leapfrogged their team and manager of choice into second place. Even if they do mention Xhaka, it is probably only to compare him unfavourably with Delli Alli or Dembele.

  • Leon

    If a harmless remark in a pretty good English newspaper makes you “ashamed to be English” then you’ll want to slash your wrists when the Chillcott Report comes out in a few weeks time.
    Get some perspective.

  • Leon

    Back to reality
    The media are going a bit over the top in their praise of Xhaka. He’s already being tipped as a future captain before he’s even kicked a ball for us. Really looking forward to watching the Swiss matches at Euro ’16. If he plays half as well as he talks he’ll be a legend.
    I already like him so much.

  • omgarsenal

    I have been viewing and assessing Granit on YouTube ,other football sites and on the web in general and here is what I am seeing (from an retired referee and player’s viewpoint):

    1)He does love the long diagonal ball to either wing but mostly to the left wing. he is VERY accurate when passing there. So whoever is on the left wing will get a lot of service.

    2)He is NOT a great shooter but he isn’t afraid to shoot when he sees the chance, like El-Neny. He is not as two footed as Cazorla, but then who is?

    3)He is tough in the tackle but isn’t brutal or vicious, rather calculating and his timing is excellent.

    4)He is quite good in the air and doesn’t hold back. He was cautioned a few times for charging in the back of his opponent in the air.

    5)He is VERY mobile and can turn well, creating space for himself as needed.

    6)He slide tackles and shoulder charges quite well and usually wins the duel.

    7)He seems very passionate and focused all game long and is in excellent shape. He does have an engine and that allows him to move from his defensive midfield position to an attacking position quite smoothly and quickly. I never saw him out of position in all the videos i watched.

    8)He appears very confident and mature for a 23 year old. He was NEVER intimidated, regardless of who he was playing against.

    9)His passing is fair,as he tends to try one-touch a lot and therefore misplaces his passes about 10% of the time….that said, he’ll fit Wenger’s rapid transition game perfectly.

    10)The referees didn’t have a lot of trouble with him as he never contested an official’s decision in all the videos I watched and when he was called for a foul, he got into defensive position without a word or any undue resistance. He is not reckless or dangerous but I bet his opponents know that he tackled them!!!

    Overall a 9/10 for Arsene……and he looks like someone who can play with LeCoq,El-Neny, Cazorla, Jack or whoever AW decides he’ll partner in midfield. He also looks equally at ease as a defensive or attacking midfielder. He’s NOT a goalscorer but he is tough and reliable, with a broader skill set than LeCoq, as speedy as El-Neny, definitely intelligent like Cazorla, and mobile like Jack, although physically more robust and athletic. IF he can stay fit and uninjured, and not targeted by the PIGMOB for early elimination, he could allow the Arsenal to have the best midfield in the EPL.

  • Matthew

    Maybe “leadership” isn’t such an overrated “English concept after all, eh?

  • bjtgooner

    Granit seems to be an excellent signing – based on all the reports. Welcome Granit.

    Interestingly today I met someone from his home town who was very supportive of him from a personality and intelligence point of view – backing up his footballing reputation.

  • Leon

    The good news from that is that there wont be any talk of him coming to us now. Or Zlatan.
    You can see why the United supporters are concerned. They’ll probably never see any of their promising youth players develop. Rachford will be the last of a long & productive line.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Rambo get new number. 8. Alexis is now 7. If we go by the numbering, looks like Rambo on the right.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ‘ Look for three things in a person – intelligence , energy and integrity .
    If they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two .’

    Warren Buffet

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Have a good cry . I did .

    At the point of death a man, Tom Smith, called his children and after praying for them, he advised them to follow his footsteps so that they can have peace of mind in all that they do.

    The youngest child, Immaculate, a female, looked at others and yelled, “Daddy, its unfortunate you are dying without a penny in your bank account, personally, I can’t emulate you. Other’s fathers that you tag as being corrupt, thieves of public funds left houses and properties for their children; even this house we live in is a rented apartment, sorry, i can’t emulate you, just go, let’s chart our own course, let’s paddle our own canoe.”

    Few moments later, their father gave up the spirit.

    Three years later, Immaculate went for an interview in a Multinational Company. The interview panel had already penciled down a candidate for the highly coveted post but wanted to complete the formality of interviewing all applicants on the list.

    As soon as Immaculate sat before the interview panel, the Chairman of the Committee asked, “Which Smith is your’s ?” and Immaculate replied, “I am Immaculate Smith. My Dad Tom Smith is now late, he died as a poor man…”

    But the Chairman cuts in, “Oh my God, you are Tom Smith’s daughter?” He turned to other members and said, “This Smith man was the one that signed my membership form into the Institute of Chartered Administrators and his recommendation earned me where I am today. He did all these free. I didn’t even know his address, he never knew me from Adam. He just did it for me.”

    He turned to Immaculate, “I have no question for you, consider yourself as having gotten this job, resume tomorrow, your letter will be waiting for you”.

    Immaculate Smith became the Corporate Affairs Manager of the Company with two cars, one official and one for private use, attached to the office, with a duplex and two drivers and a salary of £100,000 per month excluding allowances and other costs when she traveled outside England.

    After two years of working in the Company, the Group Managing Director of the Company came from America to announce his intention to resign and needed a replacement. A personality with high integrity was sought after, again the Company’s Consultant nominated Immaculate Smith.

    In an interview, she was asked the secret of her success and the sudden sky rocketing profile and in tears, she replied, ” My Daddy paved these ways for me. It was after he died that I knew that he was financially poor but stinkingly rich in integrity, discipline and honesty.”

    She was asked again, why she was weeping since she was no longer a kid as to miss her dad still after such a long time. She replied, “At the point of death, I insulted my dad for being an honest man of integrity. I hope he will forgive me in his grave now. I didn’t work for all these, he did it for me to just walk in”.

    So finally she was asked, “Will you follow your father’s foot steps as he requested?”
    And her simple answer was, “l now adore the man, I have a big picture of him in my living room and at the entrance of my house. He deserves whatever I have after God.”

    Are you like Tom Smith?
    It pays to build a name, the reward doesn’t come quickly but it will come however long it may take and it lasts longer. Integrity, discipline, self control and the fear of God makes man wealthy, not the fat bank account. Leave a good and honest legacy for your children to follow .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ‘ The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.’

  • Somerset Gooner

    THE banner on another site:

    Hope it’s OK to post links, if not could mods remove

  • Somerset Gooner

    Sorry meant to add this: It fèels somehow the mood amongst the ‘concretians’ in the media is changing.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Somerset Gooner for that link!

  • BarryL

    another example of Concrete Thinking in HITC

    A completely pointless article full of anodyne and oft repeated “opinions” backed by no facts or reasoning, and sloppy thinking.

    The first sentence is written to suggest that the majority of Arsenal fans are unhappy with AW with no supporting numbers or reasoning, and it goes on from there.
    The silly season has started early.
    Looks like

  • Menace

    Somerset Gooner -Thanks for the link.

    Shame that all the footy pages are full of the dregs of Chelsea (that are going to destroy all of Bobby Charltons credibility).

  • Polo

    It’s amazing the love fest for Moaninho by the media, it’s like the return of the messiah.

    It’s going to be interesting next year, as the media Messiah Klopp vs Messiah Pep vs Messiah Mourinho vs prophet Conte vs the media devil Wenger.

  • Magneto


    The football media love fest for that cultural terrorist is not surprising.

    They have been campaigning to get their heart throb back into English football ever since Chelsea sacked him late last year.

    That’s why there was so much heat on LVG at Man Utd.

    The football media’s homoerotic coverage of, and relationship with, Mourinho is insatiable, and I’ve never seen anything like it in any other sport.

  • omgarsenal

    It’s amusing how some media and many Wenger-Arsenal haters have already begun to write off the Arsenal before the first ball is dropped in August!!! They adore Moanhino because he is ¨colourful¨, in other words darkly controversial and without integrity, honour or shame. Just the role model the media love to sell to the sheeple who follow football.He can be relied upon to insult, verbally abuse, physically confront and even try and injure someone, especially opposition managers, team doctors and the occasional opponent at least once a season…..that possibility gives the media orgasms…as such sensationalism sells papers, TV and web clicks!

  • austinpaul

    Welcome Xhaka to d home of beutiful football ,where d game is played as it shuld nd all real members of d family are ONE in their: believe, absolute love, commitment, sincerity,trust,intergrity,hope,dreams nd aspirations et al;let d critics, unbelievers nd haters start gripping,d more they gripe d more strenght Untold garnners nd d more insane they will become as their lies become unearthed for d world to behold their falutine ochestrated haughtiness for wat it is;unnecessary racial bias against AW,hence anytin Arsenal; dis haters only hate AW bcos they are envious of his endowment wich place him in an extraordinary class away from d rest; how many managers can do wat AW has done at Arsenal? None of d 3 year contract tittle chasing managers can I dare say, dats why Wenger is special nd unique;tank u Xhaka for letting d haters kno u came bcos of Wenger; shame to all haters!!

  • Gord

    My feeling when I heard “real” news about Xhaka becoming a Gunner, was a bit of wonder.

    Midfield: Ramsey, Flamini, Wilshere, Coquelin, Ozil, Elneny, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arteta, Rosicky and Cazorla, with Arteta and Rosicky leaving, and possibly Flamini as well. Which is 7 players in midfield (10 last season). I think the on-loan youngsters in midfield are: Maitland-Niles, Hayden, Toral, Zelalem, Kamera and Rene-Adelaide.

    That is 13 players in midfield who will be back next season. Sure, some may go on loan again. Where does Xhaka fit in?

    My initial thought was, he is a direct replacement for Flamini.

    There will certainly be a lot of competition for who plays in midfield.