On 25 May 2016, Arsenal signed Granit Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach for a fee of around £30–35 million. Xhaka made his first appearance for Arsenal, as a half time substitution, in a 2–1 win against the MLS All-Stars.
"I like the style of football in the Premier League. It's aggressive and I like the way Arsenal play football. It's not like other countries but it's very nice here. Yes, it's a fight. I like that but Arsenal can also play football and that's very good.
"England is my dream. I do not hide it. Whether I'll be happy there, only the good Lord knows.
The midfielder joined Borussia Monchengladbach from Basel in 2012 for £6.3 million but not before enjoying a remarkable last year in Switzerland when he won the double, lifting the league and cup.
His decision to play for Switzerland caused controversy, though, and when he faced Albania in 2014 World Cup qualifying, Xhaka, whose older brother Taulant Xhaka chose to represent the country of his parents' birth, was booed throughout. It all means the siblings are set to play against each other at Euro 2016.
Their parents, Elmaze and Ragip, arrived in London on Sunday for the game. Taulant says that they will support Basel “for their heart” but still be happy for Granit should Arsenal prevail.
Interestingly, Xhaka joked in January that he would like to take the number 34 shirt away from Coquelin.
He played his first game for the Switzerland national under-19 football team on 25 May 2010, as a substitute, as the team beat Austria national under-19 football team 3–2 in the Schwaz, Austria. He scored his first goal for the U-19 on 7 September 2010 as the team won 3–0 against the Czech Republic.
"Xherdan Shaqiri is the best talent in Switzerland... after Xhaka” - Former Germany international Thorsten Fink
After paying tribute to his old club, Xhaka wrote on his official Instagram account: "From now on I'm totally focused on playing at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“I was a bit afraid to start with as I didn’t want to injure him,” he says. “As the game went on you relax and focus just on the game. To play against Arsenal in the Champions League is a childhood dream. It will be special. We both go into it with the same thoughts; that we need to win and give everything.”
He consistently ranks in the top 30 Bundesliga players for tackles and interceptions per game, but that combative style has landed him in disciplinary trouble too, with Xhaka leading the league for red cards (three) and second for fouls per game (2.6).
His big brother and best friend Taulant will not be there to celebrate the occasion and they are also unlikely to even have their daily phone call. Why? Taulant will be en route to London himself with the Basel team that is hoping to add Arsenal to the scalps of Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool in European competition over recent years.
That's right. Xhaka, 23, was born in Basel, Switzerland, to Kosovo-Albanian parents and was fast-tracked into the senior Swiss ranks, becoming a full international shortly after his 18th birthday.
On sealing Xhaka's signature, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said: "Granit Xhaka is an exciting young player, already with good Champions League and Bundesliga experience. We have been watching him for a long time now and he is a player who will add quality to our squad."
"We wish Granit a good Euro 2016 with Switzerland and look forward to welcoming him to Arsenal ahead of next season."
Granit Xhaka (Albanian pronunciation: [ɡɾaˈnit ˈdʒaka]; born 27 September 1992) is a Swiss professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for English club Arsenal and the Switzerland national team. Swiss national manager Ottmar Hitzfeld once dubbed him the "young Schweinsteiger", while former Arsenal defender Johan Djourou has praised his tackling, versatility, and physicality.
• Ever-present (seven appearances) as Switzerland won the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria.
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The Switzerland international has previously revealed his desire to play in the Premier League, and has been linked with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City.
“Every day was the same,” he says. “We played football together after school with all our friends until it got dark. Granit was a striker when he was very young; he used to score lots of goals. I play in a slightly more defensive role. Granit has this 40-yard pass. It’s a strength that I could maybe learn from him.”
Arsenal watched the midfielder a staggering 30 times this season. Arsene Wenger has sent his scouts to make weekly checks on Xhaka and are now believed to be lining up a £30 million move.
Xhaka began his career at hometown club Basel, winning the Swiss Super League in both of his seasons. He then moved to Bundesliga team Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2012, playing 140 official games and scoring nine goals.
Xhaka was born in Basel, Switzerland to Kosovo Albanian parents and is the younger brother of Taulant Xhaka, who is also a professional footballer and plays for FC Basel and the Albania national team. Their family moved from Kosovo to Switzerland shortly before their children were born.
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• Born in what is now the Republic of Kosovo, Xhaka scored two minutes after coming off the bench on his Basel debut in a 2010/11 UEFA Champions League qualifier against Debreceni VSC; lifted the Swiss title in his debut season.
Born in Basel, Switzerland to Kosovo Albanian parents, Xhaka is the younger of two footballing brothers. Both Granit and his older sibling, Taulant Xhaka, came through the ranks at Basel before Granit departed for Gladbach in 2012.
Xhaka has emerged as one of the Bundesliga's most talented midfielders since his move to Monchengladbach in 2012 but has now sealed a switch to the Emirates on a "long-term contract" for an undisclosed fee.
So just who is the Gunners' first signing of the summer and how might the 'Little Einstein' fit in? We take a look...
Sky sources reported at the weekend that Xhaka was in the process of completing the move for a fee in the region of £30m - Arsenal's third-most expensive transfer.
Xhaka debuted for Switzerland at Wembley Stadium against England, in a 2–2 UEFA Euro 2012 qualification draw on 4 June 2011. On 15 November of the same year, during his sixth international appearance, he scored his first international goal in the 1–0 away win against Luxembourg in Stade Josy Barthel.
Xhaka has gone on to become Monchengladbach's skipper, which says a lot for the man considering his young age.
He has already scored two goals and his performances have made him an immediate favourite with fans as well as drawn comparison from Wenger with Emmanuel Petit.
He has been a full international for Switzerland since 2011, gaining more than 40 caps. He was included in their squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016.
Xhaka, Granit - Arsenal (ENG)
"Xhaka can succeed in the Premier League, but I think Bayern will be the next step in his career. He will be one of the best player in Europe, and he is also a very nice guy – polite and funny" - David Nienhaus, a German journalist
Former Bayern Munich and Switzerland manager Hitzfeld said: "Bayern need players with a strong self-confidence. Xhaka certainly has the quality to prevail at Bayern. I am convinced that he still has a great career ahead of him. He is a leader, a player who is responsible and self-confident."
On 18 May 2012, Basel announced on their homepage that Xhaka had agreed terms with Lucien Favre's Borussia Mönchengladbach. After medical checks were completed, the teenager signed a five-year deal with the club. The transfer fee was not disclosed by Mönchengladbach, but is estimated to be in the region of €8.5 million.
Xhaka believes his aggressive style of play will be well suited to the Premier League.
Xhaka made his debut in a DFB-Pokal first round match against Alemannia Aachen on 18 August 2012. Three days later, he made his first appearance in European competition for Borussia in 1–3 home lost to FC Dynamo Kyiv in qualification for the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League. On 25 August, he made his Bundesliga debut in the team's opening match of the season, a 2–1 home win against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. He scored his first and only goal of the season in a 3–2 loss at 1. FC Nürnberg.
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