When Unai Emery swooped to bring Lucas Torreira to Arsenal for a reported £26.5m in the summer, it did not look to be particularly good news for Granit Xhaka’s Gunners career.
The Swiss international was Arsene Wenger’s most recent attempt to solve the lack of bite in his engine room, but looked to impetuous for the task at hands for much of the time he worked with the Frenchman.
Torreira may well have been a replacement for Xhaka but at the moment, the duo are playing alongside each other and it has had a transformative impact on the latter’s performances.
They have formed a combative duo at the heart of the Arsenal midfield; the dual responsibility allows both to get forward at times and Emery’s fragile backline is better protected, especially when he deploys a three at the back system.
The Uruguayan is already a fan favourite but Xhaka alongside him has also improved; partially from the natural competition and partially because he now longer has to plough through the midfield defensive work solo.
Wenger spent years looking for one dependable defensive midfielder in the closing years of his reign; Emery already has two.