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Xhaka: Wenger said I had to join "to enjoy football"

Arsenal's newest signing opens up about getting the call from Gunners boss Arsene Wenger a year ago.

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Granit Xhaka has already spoken candidly about the fact that Arsene Wenger contacted him about joining Arsenal last year. He's now revealed more about that conversation that shows just how highly players regard the French manager.

"It was madness, he's a legend for me," Xhaka said. "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."

. . .

"It was very important [to complete the deal before the tournament], I wanted it by all means," he said. "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."

It's sometimes easy to forget that, while we may wring our hands over the state of the squad and the transfer window, players like Xhaka have grown up looking up to Arsene Wenger. When we discuss the Frenchman's eventual departure, it's tough to overestimate the fact that losing him means losing one of the major draws for coming to play for Arsenal: playing under Arsene Wenger.