Jack and Xhaka: strengths and styles

Granit Xhaka and Jack Wilshere

One of the sub-plots of the summer transfer window was the arrival and departure of left-footed Arsenal midfielders.

Granit Xhaka was signed from Borussia Monchengladbach while Jack Wilshere embarked on a season-long loan at Bournemouth.

Three months into the season, Granit is fighting for a first-team place while Jack is flourishing on the south coast.

“[Granit] needs to adapt, then we need to find the balance because he plays in a deeper-lying midfield position, and he passes through the lines,” said Arsene Wenger. “He needs to adapt to the way we play and the tactical pace of the English game. I am confident he will do very well.

“Yes [he is taking time to adapt] but that is part of the job. People want you to buy players but when you buy them we only have 11 spaces and not 22, and they feel sorry for the 11 who do not play. You want them to compete and convince you that they can get in the team.

“Granit is more a deep playmaker I think than a box-to-box player. He does not get in the final third of the opposition half a lot. He is more a guy who has a fantastic pass to play through the lines.

“He gets the ball from the defenders and finds the high midfield. His strength is what we call the ‘moderate-value pass’ - the passes that come from deep midfield to high midfield.”

Jack’s qualities are not dissimilar and the manager is encouraged to see him get the regular football he needs at Bournemouth.

“I let him go this season because we bought Xhaka, we have Elneny, Ramsey, and I thought he wasn’t fit enough to be in the position to start games, so I let him go.

"If Jack comes back to his right level he will play for us"

“He’s been educated here since he was eight or nine years old, he has gone for years through difficult periods where he didn’t play, and you look at the number of games he played in the last two years before he left us.

“I felt honestly that if a guy who has been educated here has another season where he doesn’t play because I don’t give him the chance because I have some players who are fitter than him, it would be unfair. It was not a mathematical decision.

“After we see how he goes at the end of the season. If Jack comes back to his right level he will play for us.”


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