Xhaka joins Arsenal for £30m

Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka is an exciting young player but needs to control his aggression more.
Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka is an exciting young player but needs to control his aggression more. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

LONDON • Arsenal have responded to the disappointment of missing out on the Premier League title by signing combative Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka from Borussia Moenchengladbach.

According to various British media, the 23-year-old costs around £30 million (S$60.8 million), making him the club's third most expensive signing.

The Gunners paid £41.5 million to Real Madrid for Mesut Oezil in 2013 and £35 million to Barcelona for Alexis Sanchez in 2014.

Arsenal fans have long called for manager Arsene Wenger to splash the cash, and they have finally seen the Frenchman make an outfield summer signing for the first time since Danny Welbeck left Manchester United in 2014.

Wenger was always looking to strengthen central midfield given that Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini are set to be released when their contracts expire at the Emirates Stadium this summer.

"Granit Xhaka is an exciting young player, already with good Champions League and Bundesliga experience," Wenger said in a statement. "We have been watching him for a long time now and he is a player who will add quality to our squad."

It is understood that Xhaka, who spent the last four years at Moenchengladbach, signed a five-year contract.

He has been an influential player for the Bundesliga club, helping them to a fourth-place finish this season that secured Champions League football.

When he has started for them over the last two season, Moenchengladbach won 57 per cent of their games, as opposed to 30 per cent without him.

He can operate as a holding midfielder or in a more advanced position.

His energy and passing are his strengths, but he can be too aggressive at times. Last season, he was sent off thrice in the Bundesliga - more than any other player.

Still, he has been tipped to become one of the stars of Euro 2016, where he is set to add to his 41 caps for Switzerland.

"I'm very proud to be joining Arsenal," he said.

"I cannot wait to move to London, represent this special club and play in the Premier League. I will give everything to help Arsenal win trophies and make the fans happy."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2016, with the headline 'Xhaka joins Arsenal for £30m'. Print Edition | Subscribe