Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour says it is too soon to liken Granit Xhaka to Patrick Vieira, although he feels the Switzerland international has made an impressive start to life at the Emirates Stadium.
Xhaka signed for Arsenal from Borussia Monchengladbach in May, with the north London club’s fans hopeful he can follow in the footsteps of the iconic Frenchman.
Vieira won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups during his time at Arsenal between 1996 and 2005 and Parlour is adamant Xhaka has work to do before he can match those feats.
“Patrick was a magnificent player, what he had was that presence and that’s what Xhaka will need to show,” Parlour told Standard Sport.
“But it doesn’t help to compare him to someone like Patrick before he’s even played. I don’t think you can make a judgement on him yet, but he looks a good player so far with the national team.
“Let’s give him 15-20 games in the Premier League, they’re tough games. He might not be used to that. So let’s save our judgement until then.
“He’s showing signs of being an excellent player but when the pressure’s on, when you need to go to Stoke away, when you need to make that extra tackle can he do it?
“He can get his foot in but he might have to watch that in the Premier League. We’ll have to wait to see how he deals with the crunch of the Premier League but he’s done it with Switzerland and Borussia Monchengladbach.”
Arsenal begin their campaign at home to Liverpool on Sunday, when Parlour and Gunners fans may get a better idea of what the new arrival is capable of in competitive action.
“I’d like to judge him on the proper games, when he’s going to have to step up or dig in,” he said.
“The team needs a bit of passion maybe and at the moment he looks like he could do that, so I think he could be an excellent signing for Arsenal.
“I hope so for Arsenal’s sake, at the moment the signs look very good. I like what I’ve seen so far. I think Xhaka’s very good, he’s very efficient on the ball.”