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Granit Xhaka set for a big future at Arsenal

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There was little to rave about during Switzerland's 0-0 draw with France in Euro 2016, but Arsenal fans will no doubt have been thrilled by the performance of one man.

New signing Granit Xhaka pulled the strings from midfield once again for the Swiss and gave an onlooking Arsene Wenger a welcome reminder of why he shelled out £35million to bring him to the Premier League.


Teaming up with fantasy football product DraftKings, we analyse just what Xhaka will bring to Arsenal next season.

Despite being just 23, Xhaka plays with an incredible maturity that just needs polishing off by an experienced manager like Wenger.

His discipline is a little shaky - with fouls conceded costing -0.5 fantasy points on DraftKings - so his game admittedly needs some work when his side are without the ball.

Brilliant on the ball 

With the ball, he is superb - completing almost 100 passes against France. Xhaka's biggest problem is that he makes everything look so easy; his detractors may have looked for him in the headlines and not found him. But Arsenal aren't looking for a superstar who will get goals. Wenger needs a talisman from midfield and it looks like he's found one.

Unfortunately, having his shirt ripped on two occasions in the France game didn't bring him any rewards, but elsewhere, Xhaka will have picked up plenty of fantasy points, not least as crosses are worth +0.75.

The Swiss number 10 is known for his short passes, but he showed his versatility against France by playing longer ones too.

Xhaka's aggressive tackling shouldn't be written off either, even if it leads to the occasional booking which loses him -1.5 points. Tackles won are worth +1 point each and he will be able to toughen up Arsenal's midfield and that has needed doing for several years.

Against Romania, he proved his capability as a box-to-box midfielder, making a mockery of suggestions he doesn't get forward enough.

In terms of DraftKings, he doesn't pick up the big +10 points for goals or +6 for assists, but without him in the midfield, it's arguable that his Swiss team-mates wouldn't either.

Xhaka at Arsenal 

And so, to the Emirates. Xhaka will be teaming up with players like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, so even Arsenal's best players will be able to improve because he will bring so much stability to the centre of the park, allowing others to get forward.

Although he's not thought of as a goalscorer himself, if Wenger also signs a player like N'Golo Kante to go alongside him in midfield, Xhaka may be able to have a few more shots too.

Watching his performances for Switzerland so far, he certainly looks like an Arsenal player, only a bit more robust than their usual twinkle-toed midfielders.

Much of the debate in north London has been focused on whether Wenger needs to sacrifice beautiful football for the sake of results, but with Xhaka at the heart of his team, it looks like he can finally have both.

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Euro 2016
Theo Walcott
Premier League

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