Friday, September 22, 2023

Arteta coy on Xhaka departure, but praises midfielder’s exceptional season

Mikel Arteta refused to confirm that Sunday’s 5-0 over Wolves was Granit Xhaka’s final game for the club, but was happy to acknowledge the applause and support that was transmitted from the stands after the his two goal haul.

The midfielder has had an excellent season, scoring 9 goals in all competitions, responding to the challenge his manager had made to him at the end of the last campaign.

“One year back I told him there is a question mark on you,” said Arteta.

“You have to deliver more, you have to be better. He went back and trained the next day, then came back in pre-season four kilos lighter, fit and in his face you could see he was determined to do it.”

Do it he did, and throughout this campaign he has been one of the Gunners most consistent performers.

“He’s been exceptional,” continued the boss.

“A key part of the success of the team and I’m so happy that everybody is appreciating what he’s done.

“He’s had an exceptional season.”

When it was put him this had been Xhaka’s final game, he kept a straight face for a few seconds, saying, “You know that? That’s news for me.”

Seconds later, his smile gave the game away, but given Xhaka had posted his thanks on Instagram, it’s hardly a trade secret at this point.

Arteta was also quizzed on his emotional reaction to his name being sung as he tried to convey his message of thanks to supporters after the final whistle.

“I’m a human being, I have feelings!,” he said.

“It was really nice the way they transmitted that love to the team, to every player and obviously towards me as well.

“It’s been a really emotional year, a very special season and the team deserves, and our people deserve to end it in a good way so I’m really happy.”

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Two years ago, I would be happy to see him leave.
But times have definitely changed and to me he is a completely different character.
No stupid tackles or behaviour that would get him sent off.
To me he is a completely different player under Mikel – I think Mikel found his position in the team.
If he decides to leave, I am going to miss him.
I never thought I would say that about Granit Xhaka.


Mostly agree but it’s not just his position in the team. It’s a new team with other people carrying some of the load he used to carry. He has always thrived with Switzerland and there is a reason Wenger paid good money for him. It was just too dysfunctional before for a player with his temperament to thrive.


Wenger played him in a less flexible deeper role than Arteta.

Now, he plays more forward with a license to get into the 18 yard box, link up and try his luck; the same role, more or less, that he plays at International level for Switzerland.

He’s thriving and playing the best club football of his career; to extend his time here is a no-brainer in my opinion – but let’s see what happens.

It’ll be a real shame if he leaves.


I honestly think the club should allow the dust to settle and then offer him whatever length contract Bayer Leverkusen are offering him – with a bigger salary. As I have said before, he still has so much to offer this club, both in terms of what he brings on the pitch and in the dressing room. Even if we sign both Rice and Caicedo, having Xhaka on the bench will do our squad depth options no harm at all. His experience alone would be invaluable to the youngsters, as we make a welcome return to the Champions League. Come… Read more »


I don’t think he wants to leave Arsenal at all, but I think his missus wants to return to Germany and he sees that as an opportunity to try something new. Fair enough…but at the same time I would love him to stay.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Happy wife, happy life.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Arteta is trying to make Leverkusen pay the right amount of transfer fees. If he confirms Xhaka’s departure, this will weaken Arsenal in the transfer talks.

I would have thought it would have the opposite effect.

If Arsenal confirms Xhaka is for sale on the open market, that would open a potential auction between biding (German) clubs which would secure Arsenal an overall higher selling price.

Of course that may be what has happened already with Leverkusen making the best offer to suit all parties.


Everyone in the soccer world knows there is a question over Xhaka’s future so they won’t be shy to make inquiries. They don’t need an official statement. This is how transfers work. Think about all the buying situations we have been in.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

There was no indication nor even a hint that Xhaka was going to be sold this summer until the story broke that a fee had already been agreed with Leverkusen.

Jesus of Sao Paulo

I like many other Gooners have grown into loving Xhaka this season, but if his departure paves the way for a faster, more technically gifted left sided CM who can use both legs, so be it. We must upgrade in a couple of positions if we think about going one better with the Mikel project next season,and to me central midfield is where we must begin.


I am wondering if Zinchenko will be the new Xhaka and Partey will be the inverted full back like we’ve seen in the last two games. Then maybe you have Rice / Jorginho and Caicedo / Partey. Caicedo has played RB for Brighton recently. So then it’s a DM as an inverted full back instead of an AM. When you think about it then we just about have 2 players in every position. Maybe some people leave (Tierney? ESR?) and we replace them. The CBs (including Tomi) are largely interchangeable. I could just be putting 2 + 2 together and… Read more »

True, upgrading in order of necessity. And when you look at our strongest 11 and pick where we can improve first, Xhaka’s position would be top of the list.

Naked Cygan

Is he leaving or not?

Emi Rates

It’s a riddle wrapped in an enigma.

Billy bob

I’ve seen some people take the Mick out of Arsenal for being top of the league for so long but not winning the title – not just this season too!!

However, my response is “it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all…

Or, it is better to have been in the title race and lost out, than never to be in the title race!!!

Suck it up spurs, westham and other fans of teams that are NEVER in ANY title race!!!


Next season on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights Tottenham fans will be busily playing Bridge or attending Pottery classes or Basket Weaving – one assumes they’ll be making something to put in the trophy cabinets.

Meanwhile, the manager’s office is having a revolving door fitted and extra phone lines direct to Jamie O’Hara at TalkShite will allow a unique in-game meltdown experience.

I WAS THERE T-Shirts to commemorate Richarlison’s goal are already selling like hot cakes – let’s face it, it may never happen again along with the Spurs 2022/23 latest Blu Ray, ‘101 Glory Glory Throw-Ins.’


Why are we effectively giving him away for £13 Mill?


Ive said it before and I will say it again, if Xhaka had pace he would have been one of the worlds finest midfielders.


If, if, if Walcott had more vision, if Iwobi could strike a ball cleanly, if Mustafi didn’t drop a clanger every 10 games, if Ospina had a few more inches, if Ozil had a bit more thrust… etc. Xhaka is just Xhaka, he gets the very best out of himself almost every game as well as those around him and I’m happy enough with that.


Keep him one more season, even if we risk losing him on a free after that. We need quality and depth. Good player and had an excellent season.

Frog In Ze Room

I just don’t see it. To replace that quality would be £50mil , just doesn’t make sense.


There are now rumours that Smith Rowe will be used to replace Xhaka in a floating number 8 role.


I reckon he’s the sort of bloke who could spend half the season on the bench, jump on with a minute’s notice and still tear up trees. Would love to see him stay, but it does seem unlikely.

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