Granit Xhaka has been speaking to the press in Switzerland while on international duty and has revealed that he hasn’t spoken much to Arsene Wenger since he signed for the club earlier in the summer but seems blown away by everything.
“I have to admit, in the first few days there was a certain undeniable nervousness,” Granit told Appenzeller Zeitung.
“You notice already in passing, that there’s a world-class player over there, another example Özil and Sanchez and Cazorla are huge personalities.
“In any case, even if the club has perhaps spent more money for me, from them I can learn very much – in every respect. Their work ethic, your ambitions are impressive.
“He [Wenger] is not a coach who speaks daily. Wenger talked to me two or three times. He told me he was very impressed with how I train, how I behave in my character as I was disciplined.”
He then spoke about meeting Wenger for the first time. “Pure excitement! I was really very nervous. He has an incredible way, an insane charisma.
“You look at him and know: ‘Wow, this man has achieved and experienced so much’. The respect for him is enormous.”
And he divulged what it is like for him in Arsenal training. “One cannot allow any downtime, or face instantly being benched. Each unit, every sprint, every move must be done with full force, dosing is less popular.
“Everything happens at an even higher level than it did in Mönchengladbach or at FC Basel.
“Every Monday we are summoned to jump tests, to check the condition of the muscles.
“There is nothing to hide. Once a week, I heard [we have] the discharge of urine samples to the program, the percentage of body fat is checked regularly.
“The doctors have all the relevant points in mind.”
It’s not often a player speaks so openly about what goes on behind the scenes at Arsenal and no doubt he will be spoken to and shut down from saying anything more in the future.
The way players are today is so bland we get no sense of what is important to them or what has had the biggest impact on their careers beyond club-sanctioned soundbites.
Xhaka has also been quite open recently about his desire to play for Kosovo and that seems to be getting him into trouble as he tries to clarify his position without angering further those from Kosovo who see him as a ‘traitor’ and those from Switzerland who feel he is turning his back on them.
On this subject, he might be better advised to just let it rest. On everything else, please keep talking!