20yo midfielder says Granit Xhaka is his role model

Granit Xhaka isn’t the first person Arsenal fans would pick as a role model but he’s that for Kastriot Imeri, his 20-year-old Swiss compatriot.

Foto Manuel Geisser 04.02.2021 Swispoorarena Fussball Herren Super League Saison 2020/2021 FC Luzern - Servette FC Bild : Kastriot Imeri Servette FC Schiedsrichter Stefan Horisberger Aktion *** Photo Manuel Geisser 04 02 2021 Swispoorarena Football Men Super League Season 2020 2021 FC Luzern Servette FC Picture Kastriot Imeri Servette FC Referee Stefan Horisberger Action
Kastriot Imeri Servette FC Schiedsrichter Stefan Horisberger Aktion  Photo Manuel Geisser 

We all know the story. Granit Xhaka was so responsible as a kid that he was trusted with the keys to his house ahead of his older brother.

How many Arsenal fans would trust him with their keys now?

As role models go, he probably isn’t the best. Of course nobody should have to deal with the sort of abuse that ended up with the Arsenal captain telling Arsenal fans to f-off, but he has shown repeatedly that, when the red mist descends, he has real trouble getting a hold of himself.

That doesn’t matter to Imeri, a 20-year-old Swiss u21 international who currently plays for Servette FC in his home country as a defensive midfielder.

Burnley v Arsenal - Premier League - Turf Moor Arsenal s Granit Xhaka looks dejected during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Picture date: Saturday March 6, 2021. Copyright: Peter Powell
Burnley v Arsenal – Premier League – Turf Moor Arsenal s Granit Xhaka looks dejected during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Picture date: Saturday March 6, 2021. Copyright: Peter Powell

Regarded as one of the top talents in the country, he was a regular in Servette’s first team by the time he was 17 and has already played over 100 games for them.

“It is a great honour for me to be able to play for Servette as a Geneva boy. I wanted that from an early age,” Imeri told Blick who then asked about influences on his career and role models, specifically asking about Granit Xhaka.

“He’s certainly a role model for me,” Imeri replied. “But to get that far, I still have to work hard on myself.”

Imeri is known as ‘Bulldog’ due to his aggressiveness on the pitch, although he has only seen red once (for two yellows).

Granit Xhaka, meanwhile, has seen red 11 times throughout his career, with four straight reds and seven for two yellows.

Three of those straight reds have come during his time at Arsenal with Jon Moss issuing two of them and two of the three came against Burnley (the other was against Swansea).