Name: Granit Xhaka
Club: Borussia Monchengladbach
International Caps: 26
Position: Central Midfielder
One of Switzerland’s most promising starlets, Xhaka has reportedly been attracting interest from Liverpool and Manchester United amongst others in recent times. The 21 year old is expected to retain his starting position for the encounter with France tonight in the central attacking midfield role. Although Borussia Monchengladbach managed an impressive sixth placed finish in the Bundesliga, coach Lucien Favre may struggle to keep the starlet at the club beyond this summer.
Although he is deployed in a more advanced role for his country, Xhaka is consistently utilised as a deep-lying midfielder alongside Christoph Kramer for his club. An industrious performer, the starlet covered 12,107 metres in Switzerland’s opening victory over Ecuador, the most of any player on the field.
One of the midfielder’s most prominent strengths is his long range passing, averaging 8.1 per game in the Bundesliga this season. This allows the 21 year old to dictate the game from deep and spread the play with ease. For Switzerland, Xhaka’s style perfectly complements the counter-attacking instincts of the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Valentin Stocker.
Despite this potential however, the starlet is certainly not the finished article. With one assist and zero goals for Gladbach this season, Xhaka needs to add an end product to his game. The midfielder also needs to maintain a greater consistency in his performances, having been dropped by Favre towards the end of the season.
An undoubtedly raw talent, Xhaka needs to iron out these kinks in his game before he can establish himself as one of Europe’s leading midfielders. But with Liverpool requiring squad depth and United basically in need of a new central midfield, the starlet could provide an attractive proposition for the reported fee of around £10 million.