Gilberto Silva confident Arsenal midfielder can become ‘strong figure’ for Arsene Wenger

Former Arsenal star Gilberto Silva is confident Granit Xhaka can blossom into a dominant midfielder

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and midfielder Granit Xhaka Photo: The Sport Review

Gilberto Silva is backing Granit Xhaka to develop into Arsenal’s midfield general.

The Switzerland international has struggled to convince Arsenal fans that he is the solution in a holding role following a mixed first season at The Emirates.

Arsenal signed Xhaka in a £33m deal from Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach in the 2016 summer transfer window following a number of impressive Bundesliga campaigns.

However, the 24-year-old lacked discipline in Arsene Wenger’s team as the defensive midfielder took time to come to terms with the pace of the Premier League.

Xhaka, though, made two assists in a promising creative performance in Arsenal’s 4-3 win against Leicester City in their Premier League opener at The Emirates.

But the holding midfielder struggled in the Gunners’ 1-0 loss to Stoke City in their first top-flight defeat of the 2017-18 season.

Former Arsenal star Silva is confident that Xhaka will blossom into Arsenal’s key man in midfield under Wenger.

“Xhaka is now adapting to the Premier League, and to how Arsene wants things to be done,” said Silva, speaking exclusively to 888sport.

“I’ve watched his last few games for the club and I’m happy with how he’s progressing.

“This season is going to be very important to him but also to Arsenal, because having him as a strong figure in the middle of the park gives them someone to break up play when it is necessary.

“He is capable of that.”

Arsenal lost 1-0 to the Potters after Jese Rodriguez scored a 48th-minute winner on his debut for Stoke City.

The Gunners will make the trip to title rivals Liverpool in their next Premier League game at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

Wenger has signed Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac in the summer transfer window so far.

Read the full 888sport interview with Gilberto Silva, including his thoughts on what the future holds for Jack Wilshere

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