He is no stranger to a waft of the red card and Arsenal’s new £30m signing Granit Xhaka admits that the leniency of English referees was one of the factors that attracted him to the Premier League.
Xhaka arrives in north London with a reputation as an uncompromising midfielder whose enthusiasm for defending the Borussia Moenchengladbach rearguard earned him three dismissals last season alone.
The Switzerland international, 23, dutifully declared Arsenal a dream destination but also confided that he is relishing the prospect of applying his qualities in a more permissive climate.
“I don’t think it’s the same. In Germany you can play aggressively but the referee will always blow his whistle, but in England that’s not the case. That’s better for me,” he said.
“I like the style of football in the Premier League. It’s aggressive and I like the way Arsenal play football. It’s not like other countries but it’s very nice here. I remember I was young and the first game I watched was in the Premier League. It’s a big dream for me and now that I’m here I am very, very happy.”
The deal for Xhaka, who joined Moenchengladbach from Basel and went on to captain the Bundesliga side to fourth place next season, is thought to be worth up to £30m including bonuses.
Arsenal, who pipped neighbours Tottenham to second in the Premier League, are expected to move for a forward next. Juventus and Spain striker Alvaro Morata is thought to be a target.
Arsene Wenger’s side earned the most of any club in top-flight prize money last term with a £100.9m windfall, which was boosted by their frequent appearances on television.