Granit Xhaka
Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka

Deep-lying playmaker Granit became Arsenal’s first signing of the summer when he joined the club on a long-term contract in May 2016.

A natural leader, the midfielder arrived from Borussia Monchengladbach, who he captained to fourth place and back-to-back qualification for the Champions League group stages.

Granit Xhaka Profile

Born September 27, 1992
Basel, Switzerland
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 29
Previous Club(s) FC Basel, Borussia Monchengladbach

Granit spent four seasons in Germany, including 2014/15 when he was named in the Bundesliga Team of the Season after helping Gladbach defy the odds to finish third.

Before playing in Germany, the tough, combative central midfielder with an eye for a long pass and a fierce shot, spent 10 years with hometown club Basel. After progressing through the side’s youth ranks, Granit cemented his place as a first-team regular in a team full of exciting Swiss starlets.

Alongside his older brother Taulant, Granit won two Swiss League titles and the Swiss Cup, and also helped Basel knock Manchester United out of the Champions League during a historic 2011/12 campaign.

A Switzerland international with more than 40 caps, he has also tasted success at youth level, winning the 2009 Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria before helping his country finish second in the 2011 European Under-21 Championship.

Before making his international bow at senior level, Granit was eligible to represent Albania due to his parents, but chose Switzerland and made his debut against England at Wembley in 2011.

Granit’s most memorable moment for his country, though, came at the 2014 World Cup when he scored in Switzerland’s 5-2 defeat against France in Salvador.

He played in all four of Switzerland's matches at Euro 2016, including a man-of-the-match display against his brother's Albania side.

Granit Xhaka's Arsenal Career

  Prem Lge Europe FA Cup Lge Cup C. Shield Total
Season Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
2016-2017 15 + 4 1 4 + 2 1 1 0 1 + 1 1 0 0 21 + 7 3
Total 15 + 4 1 4 + 2 1 1 0 1 + 1 1 0 0 21 + 7 3

My Year

  • 2016/17

August

Granit played three times in August, and made his debut in the 4-3 defeat against Liverpool following his transfer from Borussia Monchengladbach. The midfielder was particularly impressive against Watford, as he attempted more passes, made more tackles and had more touches of the ball than any other player in the win, and also covered the most ground (11.65km). “He is a guy who plays naturally behind the ball,” Arsene Wenger said. "He is a bit similar to Petit in the way he plays football. He likes to sit, give good long balls and be available with the centre-backs. He has a good engine, good stature, he is good in the air and has a good balance in his game, he has a good short ball and a good long ball.

September

Granit scored his first two goals for us in September, netting two long-range strikes against Hull City and Nottingham Forest. He played the full 90 minutes of our 2-0 win over FC Basel and the 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest. Granit appeared as a first-half substitute in the 3-0 win over Chelsea due to injury to Francis Coquelin, as well as coming on as a second-half substitute in our 4-1 win over Hull City and our 1-1 draw with PSG.

October

Granit played in our 1-0 win over Burnley, before being sent off for a tackle on Modou Barrow in the 3-2 victory against Swansea City. As a result, he was suspended and did not feature again in October.

November

Granit started and scored in our 3-2 win over Ludogorets in Sofia. He also started in our 1-1 draw with Tottenham and our 3-1 win over Bournemouth in the Premier League. He came on as a substitute in each of the month’s other three fixtures.

December

Granit played every minute of our five Premier League games during December, as well as playing the entirety of our 4-1 win over FC Basel in the Champions League.

January

Granit played five times in January, but was shown a straight red card in the 2-1 win over Burnley.