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Granit Xhaka.

Arsene Wenger wants to transform Granit Xhaka at Arsenal

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It's been a steady start to life at Arsenal for Granit Xhaka.

In his first competitive appearance for the Gunners, against Liverpool on the opening day of the season, he committed four fouls and won zero out of six tackles during his 24-minute stint.

It's been nothing but positive since then, though, with Xhaka making a further three appearances and particularly impressing against Watford, where he dominated in midfield.

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The Switzerland international then performed admirably when brought on as a substitute for Arsenal's Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night, adding stability and playing an important role in his side's 1-1 draw.

Arsene Wenger certainly seems impressed with how Xhaka has adapted to life in the Premier League, so much so that he believes the 23-year-old is wasted as a defensive midfielder.

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In a press conference ahead of Arsenal's clash with Hull City on Saturday, the Frenchman explained how he plans to convert Xhaka into a box-to-box midfielder.

Wenger said, per the Daily Mail: "He will play games. Every week he is stronger and better. He will have a huge impact as a player.

"He has the stature, he has the power, he has the strength (to impose himself on a game). What we want is to use that in a very efficient way.

"We are in September, we started in August, so it's one month. Many players take time to get into the team. He will do that without any problem.

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"I personally prefer him as a box-to-box player, because he has the engine, he has the power, he has the long pass, he likes to come deep and distribute the game.

"But he has the engine to have the impact with his runs."

Wenger's logic is sound. In his four appearances for Arsenal, Xhaka has demonstrated an aptitude for defending and pushing forward.

Strong, composed and unafraid to shoot from range, the Swiss certainly possesses the attributes to develop into a complete midfielder.

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It's discipline that Xhaka will have to improve to reach his potential, though. A yellow card on his debut - never mind the fact he saw red recently on international duty - suggests he must control his temperament.

Where Saturday's clash at the KCOM Stadium is concerned, Wenger recognised the importance of victory in order to keep up with their title rivals.

"We had a difficult start," he added. "After that we were quickly under pressure and the mental solidity of the squad is tested straight away.

"We have already to make some ground up against teams who have started well. The mental state of the squad is good but now we have to show consistency."

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Topics:
Thierry Henry
Alexis Sanchez
Granit Xhaka
Football
Premier League
Mesut Özil
UEFA Champions League
Theo Walcott
Arsenal

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