Arsene Wenger admits Granit Xhaka's shooting ability has surprised him

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When Arsenal splashed out £30 million on Granit Xhaka this summer, they did so in the expectation they were adding some much-needed steel to a midfield many had accused of being too lightweight.

And, whilst the 23-year-old has showcased his famous tough-tackling approach in an Arsenal shirt on a number of occasions already, he's also produced a couple of long-range goals for his troubles.

Speaking after his second wonder goal in four days - a 30-yarder against Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup - Arsene Wenger actually admitted he didn't know Xhaka had it in his locker when he signed him.

"Honesty, not really," the Arsenal boss said, via the Mirror, when asked whether he was aware of the Swiss international's ability from long range.

“I knew he had a good shot. But he played very deep last year [at Borussia Moenchengladbach] and didn't get forward a lot. But I hope that will give him the taste for more.

"It's great for him to get confidence as well and to know that he can score goals.”

Hull City and Forest have both fallen victim to giving Xhaka time and space in the final third in recent days and, clearly, Wenger has been caught a little by surprise too.

With the Gunners famously shy of shooting from distance in recent seasons, it can only be a positive that they seem to have stumbled upon a player who has the ability to pick out the top corner from range.

Making his case

Whether it is enough to get Xhaka a regular spot in Arsenal's starting XI, however, remains to be seen.

The combative midfielder has started just two Premier League games thus far since arriving for big money over the summer.

But he is clearly leaving an impression on his boss with recent displays - and goals - that mean it will be difficult for Wenger to leave him out moving forward.

Xhaka is already becoming a firm fan favourite thanks in part to his spectacular goal-scoring form, and it is probably only a matter of time before he sees more regular football moving forward.

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