Charles Watts reveals Arteta was desperate to keep Euro 2024 star

Granit Xhaka has had a fantastic year after leaving Arsenal in the summer of 2023.

The Swiss midfielder left the Emirates after arguably his best season in the Arsenal shirt. This year, he won the Bundesliga and German Cup at Bayer Leverkusen.

He is leading the Swiss team in Euro 2024, and they have reached the quarterfinals.

The midfielder is having a superb time in his career, and Arsenal fans wish they had kept him.

Xhaka left with Mikel Arteta’s blessing, but the Spanish gaffer had attempted to keep him happy at the Emirates for several seasons.

In 2022, he convinced the Bayer Leverkusen star to stay, just as was the case in 2020, but he could not stop him from leaving last year. Charles Watts reveals this in his exclusive column on Caught Offside:

“Ideally, Arteta would have liked Xhaka to have stayed at Arsenal, but Xhaka wanted to go. Arteta had managed to convince him to stay with the club 12 months earlier when the Swiss International was again pushing for a move. But he was unable to do the same in 2023.

“Xhaka only had a year left on his contract and made it clear to Arsenal during the final few months of the 2022/23 campaign that he wanted a new challenge. Arsenal could have kept him of course, but then they would have lost him for nothing in the summer of 2024. So they had to let him go really.”

Just Arsenal Opinion

Xhaka was at the peak of his career when he left us, and we wish he had stayed for at least one more season.


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Tags Charles Watts Granit Xhaka


  1. Lets be honest he was awful for 4 years and had a good last season when Arteta moved him out of harms way when the team carried him .
    All this talk of us missing him and what he as achieved once he left dose not gloss over how mediocre he was .
    Let it go FfS .

    1. As always you are wrong mister.All Xhaka s managers would disagree with you.Its that simple

    2. He was mediocre because he was consistently played out of position from the Wenger days.
      Xhaka was being played as a defensive midfielder, sometimes even as a left back, all positions he was ill-equipped to play in.
      Meanwhile he was thriving with his national team where he was deployed in a more advanced midfield role.
      Once Xhaka’s playing position was changed in the Arsenal team, he became a different player, and has remained so ever since.
      I am happy for him and wish him all the best.

      1. Wasn’t it arteta who played him left back? I agree he was played DM from back in the Wenger days (despite “[not being able to tackle]”), but it took a while for arteta to move him slightly further forwards to get the most out of him.

        1. Arteta didnt see a left back on Xhaka neither a right back on Partey.He just experiment with players he trust when we where in need in those positions

  2. Xhaka looked bad when given a DM role. He created the most chances after Ozil once emery put torrerria next to him and he didn’t have the DM role. Same with arteta putting partey next to him. Not his fault arsenal didn’t have a DM all those years. He endured a lot of abuse and he had every right to leave when half the fans constantly blamed him for matches but there was a reason every manager and player respects and wants him on their side. He’s forever a gooner.

  3. There is a good argument that getting the best of Xhaka demonstrated Arteta’s deep understanding of football tactics and insight into a player’s strengths and limitations.
    Certain of Xhaka’s limitations were clearly identifiable for years. It is also interesting that despite some perceptions some of his stats were amongst the best in Europe.
    Creating a setup that optimised his performances whilst limiting opportunities to exploit his weaknesses was a key aspect of the changes that lead to our first significant PL challenge in years.

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