What a strange season it has been for Granit Xhaka.
Voted captain by his teammates in the summer, he fell out with the fans in December and looked destined to move to Hertha Berlin in January. Persuaded to stay put, he’s been picked by Mikel Arteta whenever fit and we look a better side for it.
That the Switzerland international has wholeheartedly bought into the boss’ philosophy, has earned him admiration from the Spaniard, who agreed that the midfielder has come full circle in the space of six months.
“Absolutely [he has],” said the boss after watching Xhaka score in the 4-0 win over Norwich. “He’s a player whose commitment goes beyond anything normal.
“He leaves every drop of blood on that football pitch every day and he does the same in training.
“For me, he’s a great example to any other team-mate, the way he looks after himself and lives his profession.
“I’m really happy that we could convince him to stay, give him another opportunity, learn from the mistake that he made and as well appreciate the player and the person that we have at the club, and support them.
“When someone has a difficult moment, we are right behind them. We can give them another chance.”
The way Arteta talks about Xhaka, you wouldn’t be surprised if he was handed the captain’s armband again at some point in the future.