Arsene Wenger compares Granit Xhaka to Arsenal favourite Emmanuel Petit

Granit Xhaka in action at Vicarage Road
Image: Granit Xhaka has featured in all of Arsenal's games so far this season

Arsene Wenger says he can see similar qualities in Granit Xhaka to former Arsenal favourite Emmanuel Petit.

The Switzerland international moved to the Emirates Stadium earlier in the summer for £34m and made his first start in the goalless draw at Leicester, but he shone on Saturday when the Gunners beat Watford 3-1 at Vicarage Road.

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While Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil got the goals in what was a clinical first half for Wenger's side, Xhaka was assured and confident in possession.

Wenger, who looks certain to add Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi and Deportivo La Caruna striker Lucas Perez to his ranks in the coming days, likened Xhaka to Petit and revealed the club had made a move for him last year.

"We tried already in December last year," Wenger replied when asked when he decided he wanted to sign Xhaka.

"He has a good engine, good stature, he is good in the air and has a good balance in his game, he has a good short ball and a good long ball.

Emmanuel Petit and Arsene Wenger celebrate winning the Premier League title in May 1998
Image: Emmanuel Petit and Arsene Wenger celebrate winning the Premier League title in May 1998

"He is 24 years old, he has already experience abroad and that is always a problem and is more reassuring when a player has already played abroad somewhere.

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"He was captain at his age at Monchengladbach, that is not a small club so he has leadership qualities.

"He is a guy who plays naturally behind the ball, he is a bit similar to (Emmanuel) Petit in the way he plays football. He likes to sit, give good long balls and be available with the centre-backs."

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