Arsene Wenger expects 'a lot' from Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says "there is a lot to come from" new signing Granit Xhaka this season, but admits he's not quite sure how he will use all of his central midfielders.
Xhaka is the only major summer signing for Arsenal so far, but the Switzerland international is expected to solidify the Gunners' spine with his qualities as a tough-tackling defensive midfielder who can also help dictate play going forward.
Xhaka reported for preseason preparations at London Colney on Thursday after his vacation following the European Championship, and Wenger clearly has high expectations for the newcomer.
"[Xhaka brings] his passing ability to play through the lines from deep positions, his work rate, and he's good in the air," Wenger told the Arsenal website. "He's a young boy as well, 23 years old. There's a lot to come from him."
With Wenger normally deploying two deeper-lying central midfielders, Xhaka will compete directly with Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny for the holding role, while the manager also has Aaron Ramsey and the fit-again Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere to choose from for the traditional box-to-box position. But with six players fighting for two positions, how will he use them all?
"That's a good question," Wenger said with a laugh. "That's always the question you have to answer at the beginning of the season. But during the season you can rotate, some players can play a bit wider, some players are injured. In midfield especially you need a big engine, and sometimes you need a rest because the games are very demanding now in midfield."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.