Granit Xhaka revealed to Arsenal Magazine that at Borussia Mönchengladbach, he put too much pressure on himself and he doesn’t want to repeat that now.
The midfielder signed for the German side at the age of 19 for a fee of around €8.5m. It was by no means small change for such a young player and he claims he instantly felt the pressure, which led to him making simple mistakes.
“Well I made my debut at Basel when I was 17,” he explained.
“Two years later I moved to Gladbach and I made a mistake in that I put lots of pressure on myself. I wanted to do everything at once and prove to the fans that I was worth the transfer fee. I think as a result I struggled in my first six months. Maybe I talked too much off the pitch and didn’t do enough on it. That’s an experience I definitely don’t want to have again here.
“I made simple mistakes – things like misplacing five-metre passes. But I’ve become very strong mentally and I think that period of time after moving from Basel to Gladbach played a big part in that.”
Xhaka went on to spend four years at Gladbach before he signed for Arsenal, even playing as their captain at the age of 23. Hopefully, he’ll remember those good years and draw experience from them, rather than the anxious time he had as a teenager.
At the moment, the Switzerland international seems like a mature, if a little hot-headed, footballer and he’s integrated into the team really quickly. If he can continue, while also simmering down slightly, he could truly become an unreal player for Arsenal, which is really exciting.