Arsenal new boy Xhaka compared to Pirlo

Date published: Thursday 26th May 2016 12:09 - Mark Holmes

Granit Xhaka: Only thought of joining Arsenal

Arsenal new boy Granit Xhaka has been compared to Andrea Pirlo by Johan Djourou.

Arsenal confirmed the signing of Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday, and, according to his Switzerland team-mate Djourou, they will not be disappointed.

“Granit is a great ball player, the guy has a magical left foot,” the former Gunners defender told the Daily Mirror. “He can ping the ball all over the place.

“He is a strong tackler – he is very hard going into tackles – and overall he is a very, very, very good player.

“He can see a pass. He can tackle, he can assist. I would say, if I am being honest, there is a little bit of a Pirlo about him, just in terms of the precision that he plays the ball with. Granit can play those types of ball.

“He can come and get the ball and ping it 40 yards onto your feet. He is that kind of player, but with more physicality to his game.

“It is hard to give a perfect description but I would say he has a bit of Pirlo about him.”

Djourou, who spent a decade at Arsenal before joining Hamburg two years ago, is also confident Xhaka will have little trouble adapting to the English game, adding: “I think he will cope well because he has the physicality aspect to his game already.

“Sometimes when people come to the Premier League they are surprised at how physical it actually is. But he already has that.

“He is a player who gets a lot of yellow cards because in Germany it is maybe a bit too hard for his opponents. But English football will be perfect for him.”

Arsene Wenger apparently wants to make at least two more signings for the first team this summer, with Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly the latest player to be linked with the Gunners.

Djourou believes his former club do need to make further reinforcements, adding: “I’m not sure if Granit will be enough.

“Other teams will strengthen as well. Guardiola will go in for a lot of players. Manchester United as well. Chelsea too and Liverpool will buy. So the Premier League next year will be even harder to win. That’s why Arsenal will have to match those clubs in terms of who they buy.

“They always get a lot of critics because they haven’t won the title for a long time. But at the end of the day they finished second.

“I think this year the title was there for the taking and they had a chance because the big guns were not really performing. But they are progressing all the time and, to be fair to them, they were one of the few teams to beat Leicester twice. I think they will come good.”

Arsenal have been linked with Leicester City midfielder N’Golo Kante, who has a £20million buy-out clause in his contract, and Djourou does not believe the signing of Xhaka should mean an end to that interest.

“I’ve seen Kante play and I would say he is different to Xhaka,” Djourou said. “Kante is a great box to box player who never stops running. He could run for maybe two days in a row without stopping.

“Granit is more of a player who likes to play. He is very good tactically but he is more of a playmaker.”

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