Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin says he is prepared to relish a healthy rivalry with new recruit Granit Xhaka, claiming he is an admirer of the Switzerland international. 


Coquelin had a breakthrough season for Arsenal last year, establishing himself as Arsene Wenger's first-choice defensive midfielder, but faces stiff competition from Xhaka, who cost the North London club a hefty £30m to acquire his services. 


“It’s Arsenal Football Club, we know we’re going to sign quality players,” Coquelin told the ​club's website

“I saw him [Xhaka] in the Euros and he’s a good passer of the ball, he’s strong and good in the air so I think he’s going to add quality and strength to the squad and that’s a good thing.”


Coquelin revealed he is ready to fight hard in the new season after a disappointing campaign for the Gunners last time round, ending distinctly second-best to champions Leicester City, whose points haul of 81 was ten points higher than Arsenal. 


“It was a really tight season last season and it was a strange one. I think it was unexpected that Leicester would win it but they did terrifically.

Arsenal v Watford - Premier League

“We’ve gone through everything we did last season, we had a strong season, but it’s going to be about details [this time].


“The games all the people expect us to win, we have to win them and respond as well in the big games. I think that’s what we’ve done in the last couple of years so we have to carry on doing this.”