Arsene Wenger has compared new signing Granit Xhaka to former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit.
Xhaka arrived from Borussia Monchengladbach during the close season for a reported fee of around £30milllion.
The Swiss international has featured in all three of Arsenal’s Premier League matches so far and played the full 90 minutes in Saturday’s 3-1 win at Watford.
And Wenger is delighted with Xhaka’s early contribution.
“He is a guy who plays naturally behind the ball, a bit similar to Petit in the way he plays football,” he said.
“He likes to sit, give good long balls and be available for the centre-backs. He has a good mixture of short and long balls, and in midfield it is important for us to sometimes stretch defenders.
“We have a game that is based on shorter passes than other teams, so sometimes you have a player who can kick the longer ball gives us a chance to get some oxygen and some space.”
Discussing his pursuit of Xhaka, Wenger added: “We tried [to sign him] in December last year.
“He already has experience abroad and that is reassuring. He was captain at his young age at Monchengladbach, which is not a small club, so he has leadership qualities.”