Per Mertesacker says he’s looking forward to helping Granit Xhaka bed in at Arsenal and believes the summer signing will play an important role keeping the Gunners fluid in midfield.
Xhaka, who signed for the Gunners at the end of May from Borussia Moenchengladbach, will take part in his first pre-season training session next week as Arsene Wenger gears up his squad for their opening game against Liverpool on 14 August.
Looking ahead to Xhaka’s arrival at London Colney, Mertesacker told Arsenal Player: “I don’t know him personally but that doesn’t matter, we will get along with each other very quickly because he is a good player and has done so much for Borussia Monchengladbach.
“He can speak German as well, so it will be joy to get his first year going and help him bed in as a player.
“He’s a leader and that is really important, especially in midfield. He has got a very good attitude, is very composed on the ball and contributes a lot.
“He is a good passer as well, so he will set the tempo. I am looking forward to how he does it, how composed he will be in training and in the games. He will be the perfect signing for us.”
Mertesacker’s optimism about the new boy’s qualities is echoed by Francis Coquelin. While Xhaka will likely be competing with the Frenchman for a starting berth, the 25-year-old stressed that squad competition is welcome.
“It’s Arsenal Football Club, we know we’re going to sign quality players,” he told Arsenal Player.
“I saw him in the Euros and he’s a good passer of the ball, he’s strong and good in the air so I think he’s going to add quality and strength to the squad and that’s a good thing.”