Granit Xhaka has revealed that Arsene Wenger promised him football ‘paradise’ if he agreed to a move to Arsenal.
The 23-year-old, who sealed his big-money move from Borussia Moenchengladbach to the Emirates last month, also spoke of his admiration for his new manager.
“It was madness, he’s a legend for me,” Xhaka told Sports Bild, recounting the first time he spoke to Wenger on the phone.
“He suddenly is on the mobile and wants me. I will never forget his first sentence. He said: ‘If you want to enjoy football, you have to join us. Here is the paradise.’
“He has an incredibly calm but convincing manner. It makes me proud to work under such a coach.”
Xhaka also spoke of the importance of completing his move to Arsenal before heading to France for EURO 2016 – something the Gunners have failed to do with striker target Jamie Vardy.
“It was very important [to complete the deal before the tournament], I wanted it by all means,” said the midfielder.
“It could be very costly if you don’t have a clear mind during a tournament. Then agents or clubs call you all the time, you are just distracted. I am just delighted that everything’s sorted now.”
Touching on the confusion over his new squad number – the Swiss was initially handed the number 16 shirt before plumping for 29 – he said:
“My favourite No. 34 was already taken [by Coquelin], so I’ve picked my year of birth, 92, and switched the numbers around.”
More good stuff from Xhaka and a tasty line from the boss…we wonder how many times he’s used that?