Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has heralded the new deal which has been penned by Granit Xhaka after the midfielder committed his future to the Gunners.
Xhaka joined the Emirates outfit when former boss Arsene Wenger swooped for the Switzerland star from German side Borussia Monchengladbach two years ago. He is currently in Russia with the Swiss national side and for those who like a flutter you can get excellent odds from William Hill on who will win the tournament. Xhaka will also hope to add to his 61 international caps at the World Cup.
Xhaka, who is aged 25, played in all 38 Premier League games last season, starting 37 and making one appearance as a sub. Now he has extended his stay and Emery, who replaced long-serving Frenchman Wenger at the end of the season, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Granit has extended his contract with us. He’s an important member of the squad and is still young so will be able to develop even more.
“I very much hope that he has a successful FIFA World Cup with Switzerland and that he comes back fit and well and ready for the new season ahead.”
Xhaka has also earned praise from new Arsenal team-mate Stephan Lichtsteiner, who is the Switzerland captain — and he says there he believes that there is more to come from his team-mate, given his tender years.
He said: “I’ve known Granit now for more than six or seven years, so he’s just a really amazing player. He’s very good and he’s still young. It’s not easy for him to be the direct leader at 23 or 24 years old, so I really hope I can help him to become bigger and bigger.
“He had a very good season and I hope next year that he will do even better. Off the pitch he is just a great person, a great character, he is very calm, he knows when he can joke and he knows when to concentrate. A top professional player on the pitch, great passing and just a great player.”
Defender Lichtsteiner, aged 34, became becomes Emery’s first signing on a free transfer from Juventus. He won the domestic title in each of his seven seasons at Juve and overall enjoyed a hugely successful spell in Italy.
Of his first capture, Emery said: “Stephan brings huge experience and leadership to our squad. He’s a player with great quality with a very positive and determined attitude. Stephan will improve us on and off the pitch.”
Lichtsteiner, meanwhile, says he has targeted a return to Champions League football for the Gunners. He said: “It is a project to come back into the Champions League, it is hard to see a club like Arsenal that is not playing in the Champions League if you see the players, the club, the stadium. The big objective is to come back on the highest level.”
Emery is said to be keen on recruiting more stars. He has reportedly had a bid of £18million rejected by Chelsea for David Luiz. And Borussia Dortmund midfield ace Mario Götze is also said to be a target for a similar figure.