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.
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- The full index to all the series is on Arsenal History Society Web Site
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