Granit Xhaka discusses how close he came to leaving Arsenal

Granit Xhaka has admitted that he was very close to leaving Arsenal after he fell out with the fans last year.

The midfielder was booed off by Arsenal’s fans in October in their game against Crystal Palace.

He swore at the fans as he left the pitch after being substituted. The event eventually led to him being stripped of the captain’s armband.

He became very unsettled and wanted to leave the club in the January transfer window.

Mikel Arteta was made the club’s manager late last year, and he managed to convince the Swiss star that he has an important role to play at the club and that he was banking on him.

Xhaka didn’t leave, and he has been in fine form for the Spaniard since he became the club’s manager.

He was speaking about that experience recently and said that he was close to leaving after that fallout with the club’s fans.

Xhaka told BT Sport via Mail Online this week: ‘Everyone knows what happened with me and the fans – or the fans with me. It was not a good time. It was not a nice time. 

‘But maybe it was the key because I came back stronger than ever so I learned a lot from this situation. I hope the fans have too.

‘I was always saying to myself, but to the fans too, I am a guy that will go 100 per cent each game. The people start to understand me more and more now again.

‘I have to be honest, I’m very honest with everyone. I was very, very close to leaving the club. I have, until this moment, I had a great, great time in this football club. 

‘But after this, I was of course a bit down because I did not expect that from the people from the fans.

‘It was never in my mind to leave the club before, but after this happened, of course you think about it.’

Tags Granit Xhaka


  1. Brother, you have great times in a club when you win major silverware, not by joking on the training ground and gifting matches to opponents on match days. You should hang you head in shame, because of your silly mistake last year we lost points in a crucial game and were out of the top 4. You have just an FA winner medal in 2017, no major medal/s to relive “great great times” or maybe was collecting your weekly payment for sub standard performances “great great times” for you?
    Remember Granit you are an average footballer and will remain so, you were never a Xavi and never will be one. Minor improvements, yes, but that is your ability and capability. The best you could do is just put in a transfer request and move away from our dear club. Trust me you would not even make it to Bournemouth or Norwich or test your cojones with brother Troy at Watford.
    Waiting for the day when mediocre players like you leave our club. Psst… Unai has joined Villareal,why don’t try there?

    1. Am still trying to understand his position at Arsenal. He is no Carzola, Rosicky, Fabregas or Nasri. I can only compare him to coquelin but Coquelin is a better marker. This Xhaka talks bcs of how Arsenal has become. Don’t know if he has up to six assists for Arsenal this season that just ended. Can’t wait to see Partey replace him.

  2. Unlike LC I am full of admiration for Xhaka facing up to the criticism he received. It was shocking to watch on TV but all of this was happening at a time of turmoil which in itself was bad enough.

    I didn’t think he could revive his fortunes but he has done so. Mustafi too. Arteta has done wonders in stopping the rot at a club – at least from bottom which had lost the plot. He is not responsible for the higher management. There is a long way to go but with little money available for new signings, reviving the careers of some of the deadwood has helped the cause. I’m not saying Xhaka is the answer to our problems but where would we be right now without that improvement?

  3. I am tempted to echo much of LOOSE CANNONS post above mine because he has told theplain truth about how Xhaka is simply not good enough, not mobile nor fast enough. Yes he has improved under MA, as have so many others but improvement is more obvious when you start from a very low base as he has.
    Consider this: If you add 100% to the number one you end up with just number two. That is a hundred percent improvement. But if you start ,instead with a numbr seven(which is the minimum level of basic ability a club of our standing should ever accept in ALL our players, and you only improve by twenty percent under MA, you then become an eight point four(8.4) player, which is the minimum level at Liverpool or City throughout their squad. Put simply, Zhaka just does not have the basic attibutes, even after his improvement, to play effectively at our needed level.
    If you are happy with mid table, then go ahead and accept him and praise his improvement . But if you are wiser and have high standards, then please accept the evidence that your eyes see, week in and week out. That evidence shows him as a severely limited player. albeit with height and strength. But you also need something called natural TALENT!

    1. If that was a reply to me Jon I think you have missed the essence of my points completely.

      He wouldn’t be in my dream team either but in the absence of anything better his improvements have been very important to how the club have moved forward since Emery went. I’m wise enough to know that much at least!

      1. Sue P It was not a reply to you. Had that been my intention, it would have appeared as usual when replying, right under your post, at an angle. It was my honest thoughts as always.

        Say or think what you will about me and my honest language but I never play mind games as some on here(not you) do constantly. I insist on total personal honesty with myself and try to persude all others to adopt that philosophy too,albeit with patchy results, as some have not the strength of personal character to accept as truth what they are reluctant to accept. I am always ruthlessly honest, even when it saddens me. Without 100% being true to what one thinks we are harming the club we all love.
        Sorry to be profound but I hope that gives you at least a basic understanding of where I come from. We merely happen to take differing views on Xhakas current use to our club. Unlike you, to judge from your final line,I am not prepared to accept second best for our club and will always call for better as our aim. Once you start settling for second best that is how you end up. That is my experience in my long life and applies to far more than merely football. But it DOES very much also apply to football, as the last several dismal years at our club should surely have shown you and all of us only too well.

        1. Jon
          Fair enough
          I made my points about Xhaka as a current player. The reason we are mediocre is another matter entirely as you know only too well. Depressing really

  4. He should have left, it would be better for the team. Xhaka has no one particular skill that he’s outstanding in.

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