Arsene Wenger has has hit back at claims Arsenal ‘wasted their money’ signing Granit Xhaka after the Gunners missed out on a deal for N’Golo Kante.
The Gunners were in contention to sign Kante from Leicester last summer when it became apparent he was leaving the Foxes, but the French midfielder instead opted to join Chelsea in a £32million deal.
Kante has since gone on to have another fantastic season with the Blues, with the pundits claiming he is now the “best midfielder in world football”.
In contrast, the £35million Arsenal spent of Xhaka has been something of a disappointment, with the Swiss star picking up a series of yellow cards and suspensions and generally failing to find his best form in the Premier League.
But while Kante cost a similar amount to Xhaka, Wenger insists he does not welcome comparisons drawn between the pair, insisting they do not have the same roles even if they operate in the same position.
“They are different types of players,” said Wenger, who also feel Xhaka has become a victim of his own reputation.
Wenger refused to answer claims Arsenal would have fared better this season had they signed Kante instead of Xhaka and added: “I think Xhaka is more in the distribution of the pass through the lines and Kante is more the ball winner with the real technique to steal the ball without making the foul.
“You can compare more Kante with Francis Coquelin more than with Xhaka. Xhaka is more a distribution player.”
On Xhaka’s tendency to pick up cautions, Wenger said: “I believe that he is now in a position where on the first foul he gets a yellow card. For example on Saturday (against Lincoln) – first foul, soft yellow card.
“So he is a victim a little bit of his reputation. You see tackles of some players who are much worse than what he did who don’t even get a yellow card and he got a straight red and because he had a history of that in Germany I think he is a bit of a victim of that.
“Overall he is quite in a positive way, he masters himself much better. He was maybe a little bit before looking too much to impress but overall he has to stay on this ground because it is tackling that can get him sent off. When he defends well, staying on his feet he is a fair player.”