Granit Xhaka’s departure from Arsenal this summer came as a hero’s farewell for many Gunners fans. However, things could have taken a different turn for the Swiss midfielder when Mikel Arteta took charge at the end of 2019.
During Unai Emery’s time as Arsenal’s manager, Xhaka found himself embroiled in a turbulent episode with the club’s supporters in 2019, which led to him being stripped of the captaincy. It appeared that he was determined to leave the club at that time, but Arteta, who was newly appointed as the manager, managed to convince him to stay.
Arteta’s influence and support proved instrumental in helping Xhaka redeem his image and rejuvenate his career at the club. As a result, Xhaka played a pivotal role for Arsenal as they came close to winning the Premier League last season.
Reflecting on the incident with the fans, Xhaka has acknowledged how it served as a turning point in his career. The difficult episode inspired him to become a better player, and he worked hard to prove his worth to the fans and the team. Ultimately, his determination and resilience paid off, and he regained the support and admiration of the Arsenal faithful during his time at the club.
He told Blick:
‘I was Arsenal captain in 2019. Then came this story with the fans. I never had any problems with the boys and the club.
‘It was more a misunderstanding between the fans and me. Coming back to Arsenal like that afterwards gave me even more strength.
‘I was able to show what personality is in me. I don’t like talking about myself. But you can also praise yourself if the journalists don’t praise you that much. Seriously, you learn from things like that.’
Just Arsenal Opinion
Xhaka was one of our finest players under Arteta and the midfielder leaves as a hero. That time he fell out with us was a key moment in our relationship, but the midfielder redeemed himself and will be welcomed warmly whenever he visits us.
Hopefully, Declan Rice and Kai Havertz will fill the void he left behind and we will not miss his presence.