Granit Xhaka says he’s proud of the way he’s won over the Arsenal fans in the last three years and says an announcement about his future will be made in the coming week.
The Switzerland international is set to call time on a seven-year stint with the Gunners after Bayer Leverkusen offered the midfielder a four-year deal after agreeing a £13 million fee with Edu.
While the 30-year-old has come close to leaving Emirates Stadium before – Hertha Berlin came very close to signing him in January 2020 following his public falling out with Arsenal fans, and AS Roma wanted him last summer – it seems, this time, he’s ready a new challenge.
“You will know the latest next week, for sure,” Xhaka told the Evening Standard following Saturday’s defeat to Nottingham Forest.
“I think they (the fans) deserve that and I do myself as well. We have one more week of this Premier League season, the first thing is I want to enjoy and, for sure, you guys will know next week what happens with my future.”
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Xhaka handed the captain’s armband for Sunday’s final game of the season against Wolves.
It will be his 296th appearance in all competitions for Arsenal and 225th in the Premier League; only 12 players will have featured more times for the Gunners in the competition.
A “marmite” figure for much of his time at the club, Xhaka has become a terrace favourite in the last 18 months thanks, in part, to his reinvention as an attacking threat.
More than ever, he looks as though he’s been enjoying his football. It’s just a shame he couldn’t leave with a Premier League title to his name.
“Where I have been three years ago and how I came back and my turnaround, it makes me proud, makes me happy as well. But this is my story, this is my path.
“Of course, if next week we know much more about what happen with my future, I will be thankful to the fans because of how they treat me after this, I didn’t expect that if I am honest.
“I am thankful for that and I want to give them something back [for] maybe my last game on Sunday.
“I wanted to do something special this season, maybe with a title, but it’s not the time. Let’s see what the future speaks about it.
“Where I have been three years ago and where I am today, I think I grew up like a person, like a player and I got the respect back, what I think I deserve as well from the fans.
“We have worked 11 months very well, I think. Let’s enjoy the last game at home.”
It sounds like the deal is done. What a guy. I hope he gets a great send off, and maybe a final goal.
Not too bad too if he gave one to Diego Costa and gets a red card. What a proper ovation we should give him then
You’ve got to give Arteta credit for playing the Xhaka situation absolutely perfectly. First of all he convinced him to stay and Granit flourished in a side that is now comfortably a champions league squad.
And then, instead of being too romantic and nostalgic, Arteta has obviously told Granit that we won’t be extending his contract.
And now we get a decent fee for him and some more wages that can go elsewhere.
It is an incredible way to utilise the talent he had to work with and I just think Arteta has played a blinder here.
I like Granit and he has been a solid player for us over the years, even if we declined lot due many factors. A lot of the stuff written about him is complete nonsense.
He played especially well earlier this season but it is one of the positions in the squad where we clearly need an upgrade.
After the last couple of summer windows and tangible improvement on the pitch, very much looking forward to see who we bring in.
Two CM’s, RCB, Full back, striker
Gundogan is the latest name linked to replace Xhaka.
The CM short list now seems to be two from Gundogan, Rice, Caicedo, Mount.
After Zinny and Jesus were good but not good enough (yes, a little harsh) I think it looks and feels bad to sign another City player whose best days are clearly behind them.
He’s a fantastic player no doubt. But when we put out a team with three ex City players in it next season and talk about closing the gap, it’s going to feel a bit hollow IMHO.
I’m also wary we could technically put out a midfield of Elneny, Jorginho and Gundogan. I’m struggling to see the necessary dynamism in any of these players.
One and a half decent/good seasons v five bang average, at best, combined with a bad attitude. I’m not sad to see him go.
Nah he’s been fine since 2016 and very good for about three years, a few irrelevant-in-the-scheme-of-things red cards aside (a few of which were also completely unfair). Victim of insufferable entitled fan hysteria.
Completely disagree, he’s been good this season and that has very much skewed fans view of his overall time with the club. He has a history of unforced errors and brain farts, especially at key moments, it’s all there in black and white.
I’m not just having a go at him for the sake of it, I genuinely don’t believe that over the whole 7 years he has been a particularly good signing.
Well I genuinely don’t believe over the whole 7 years you’ve been paying attention to everything Xhaka does.
Yes I have and that’s why I’m more than happy to see him go. In fact, the club letting him leave after what was his best season, for only 13 million, speaks volumes.
Well, I’ll make the same point as three years ago, and which a lot of people have realized. When fit (which was almost always), Xhaka started every meaningful game for Wenger, for Emery, for Arteta, for a couple of different Swiss coaches. Different ideas, formations, attitudes. But they all thought Xhaka had to play. All of them thought he made their team better.
The other way of looking at that is he was he started games for the Arsene Wenger of later years who also regularly started Mustafi and Kolasinac. Emery, who almost every Arsenal agreed needed to leave as the team was tactically inept and devoid of leadership. And MA who has been wonderful the last two years but who’s job was at risk after the first 18 months due to the performance of the team of which Xhaka was a regular and captain. I’m making the point that there are 2 ways of looking at it and not being obtuse for… Read more »
The number of dislikes on this comment says much about the majority view at this time but I agree with you. Xhaka has mostly been a liability for us and it wasn’t long ago this view would have been met with general agreement. His recent improvements while laudable seem to have skewed the overall perception of him. I can’t remember another player who has had quite so many catastrophic lapses of judgment directly leading to goals conceded and red cards received. I’m as glad as anyone that Xhaka managed to improve and become a good player for us in his… Read more »
He’s divisive but it’s amazing how one successful season can rose tint so many glasses.
“…I can’t remember another player who has had quite so many catastrophic lapses of judgment…”
Hopefully we can bring in some players who can handle pressure or find solutions when things go wrong. I know our team is young and we over achieved this season, but mentally this team is weak at the end of a race and we have seen the evidence the last two seasons. When the going gets though we fall apart. We need to use the Newcastle game as a benchmark and give that sort of performance week in week out. That Newcastle win away is the Arsenal mentality we need, not a fking dog named Win in training. I love… Read more »
The loss of Martinelli in the last 2 games was the final straw. He was instrumental in stretching Newcastle and of course forced the own goal with his penetrating runs in behind. Arsenal need to look at bringing in a back up with similar skill set as Arsenal lose their cutting edge without him.
He’s been a vital player for us this season and it’s a shame it took so long to find a position that suits his skill set. That said if you’re going to cast a brutally critical eye on where the team can improve, his position would be close to top of the list.
£13m and £100k+ a week off the wage bill to go towards a replacement seems good business if true.
it’s whether we can replace him for £13m
the list of positions that need attention seems pretty long at this point
Obviously we can’t replace him for that but if his replacement cost £70-80m and £200k a week it goes someway to filling that hole.
It does but that only leaves us with Viera as backup in that position which seems a gamble, assuming we sell ESR.
If the rumours are true we want Rice and Caicedo, there’s 2 straight away.
I think we’ll see some tactical evolution next season and won’t necessarily be playing identically as we have been this season.
Buying Caicedo will be another Nicolas Pépé business. Don’t think he will deliver.
At least fans stopped talking about Tielmans. This guy is exactly what we already have. When it gets tough, he disappears.
I don’t think the players we have lack mental strength. Not most of them anyway.
They only caved in the last few weeks when the title got away from us. Recent results are annoying but we’ve shown plenty of mental strength throughout the season.
Teams with mental strength don’t cave in EVER !!! Love him or hate him there can be no denying that when Granit stuck the shirt on for us, he was always first into battle & never gave up ! Yes he had his limitations & yes he’s had plenty moments but his drive & will to do battle should be the template for any incomer ! Rice I see that in him ! Caicedo less so ! We will always need a bit of nasty and a leader to drag the less passionate to higher performances I’ll be sad to… Read more »
The downvote is not about Tielemans but your apparent belief that Arsenal’s players disappear when it gets tough.
Maybe so. Will be interesting to see what happens for sure.
MUCH shorter list than last season
I dunno if we want to be competitive in both the league and the UCL maybe not so much
I would rather Xhaka + one other in that position and Viera as a bit of a development project maybe …
Xhaka has proved he can do it this season, he’s been the least of our problems tbh
Vieira might benefit from a loan. Maybe even Championship level loan. He still seems a little light to me
That would be good for his confidence, tell him he is too shit for the EPL, send him to the championship to get the shit kicked out of him.
I’m going to miss this guy. Takes his hits, but always gets up and gets on with it.
One of the toughest players we’ve had in a long time
If that’s the case (sorted this week) we must be very confident that we have a replacement pretty much agreed.
we were looking for one and are now looking for two,
We needed 2 before we signed jorginho, and this season has shown us that.
Guy is smart. He knows when to leave. Arsenal fans can be fickle. The detente never last.
Seems there are still remnants of the “Xhaka is a liability” narrative. If you can think for yourself rather than follow a lazy narrative, how many other midfield players have been as brave and willing to make themselves available for a goalkeeper to play out, to receive the ball in high risk areas, to be the last man every time and be selective about when to make that last ditch tackle, to be alert enough, astute enough, strong enough and disciplined enough. Yes disciplined enough, this guy has never received a second yellow in his life! But if you choose… Read more »
You appear to have mistaken Granit Xhaka for Lother Matthaus. Because that is who you have just described above. Lobbing in the phrase “lazy narrative” doesn’t then give you carte blanche to create a fantastical rose tinted narrative of your own. If he has been the player you have just described for the last 7 years we: A – Would never have kept him at the club for this long as European giants would have snapped him for a healthy fee to play him in the CL. B – We wouldn’t be selling him now at 30, prime of his… Read more »
I say ‘lazy narrative’ because it’s taking the easiest sweeping statement, then using it to fill in the blanks when the truth is too complicated to summarise in a headline.
I can’t understand why he’s going so cheap, but the same could be said of Martinez, Leno, Guendozi, Scezny etc all below market value.
As for why we’re selling him, when a player wants to go a year before their contracts up, wise to let them, no matter their age.
The truth is as complicated or a simple as one chooses to make it. Xhaka’s career with us has been 2 good seasons and 5 average or below average seasons. The stats are there. The player wants to leave just as we qualify for the CL. To play for a club that might be in the Europa Conference league if they manage to win their last game. If he was half the player you make him out to be he would want to play in the CL and CL clubs would be in for him. That is the truth it’s… Read more »
The truth about Xhaka is that he is–and has been–a quality player whose lack of foot speed is the only thing that keeps him from being at the very top.
Off the top of my head Patrick Vieira, Manu Petit, Brian Robson, Michael Ballack, Roy Keane. World class when top of their games, none of them with quicker “foot speed” than Xhaka, he’s not even in the same division as these guys.
Roy Keane just kicked people, he has never been world class at anything but running his mouth
The only one of those names comparable in style to Xhaka would be Petit, and he’s comparable in effectiveness too. Both got red cards through role in the team, both carried their countries through knock out rounds of World Cups. A difference is Xhaka had a strop when being substituted, Petit had his strop ‘because’ he was substituted and refused to play for us again. That makes him less of a team player in my book.
The original point was he would be at the very top if he didn’t lack “foot speed”. I’m not saying every player I named (off the top of my head) plays in exactly the same style, but they do play in the same position and played in similar roles. They all lacked any great pace, just like Xhaka. I was simply demonstrating that his lack of pace/speed etc is not what has stopped him being at the very top.
I won’t disagree with you mr Limpar, but alot of people bemoaned our lack of leadership and courage since the latter Wenger years. Xhaka is without doubt the best leader the club has had in that time.
Sorry to see him go, he has a bit of granite about him that the team will miss 😉
Best of luck Granit and yeah give Costa hell in the last match. He is a horrible, cheating, divey little arsewipe!
There goes a Gunner I love with all my heart. Granit Xhaka the consumate and no-nonsense warrior who leaves all on the pitch. Thanks for the service; I hope and pray Bayer Leverkusen give you something to smile about.
Same. Maybe my favorite Gunner among the current squad. Character counts for a lot. Faleminderit shume, Granit.
It’s been an odd seven years. I remember seeing his Youtube reel the summer we bought him, and I thought we were getting the next Xabi Alonso. Although he didn’t come close to those heights, he never hid and always gave his everything. Arteta in particular got the best out of him, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the team around him is the best since he’s been here.
In the end, I’m appreciative of his contributions, but am pumped the club is looking to improve. In years past we would have just resigned him.
Wish him all the best but let’s be honest a better player shouldn’t be too hard to find! Hope he had a nice send off al the same
future arsenal manager
Great call – if he decides to study for his coaching badges.
He is, along with Elneny. Friend of mine’s daughter did their assessment the other week.
Xhaka isn’t someone I’ve always liked, but he’s someone I can empathize with as we share a lot of the same character traits (short temper, outspoken, emotional). Hope that wherever he ends up next year makes he and his family happy.
I hope he scores a goal
this might be the worst departure we could have had. sure we have more skilful players than him. but what he brings in terms of leadership and mentality, in a dressing room full of kids, will be massively missed. im actually worried about how we gonna fill that gap.
It will be a massive mistake by the club if they let him go at the moment.
But this is us – this is EXACTLY how we operate – and STILL wonder why we come up short of quality squad depth year in year our.
i thought we would never ever agree on anything! i think it’s not that the club don’t want to keep him, but that the player fancies a move elsewhere. maybe it was set to happen last summer and they convinced him to stay one more season. can’t force a player to stay and after all these years of loyalty i think he deserves to have the last word on the matter. i hope he stays tho. cheers!
I’ll miss him and I think the team will as well. Tough as nails and a real fighter.
We love you, Xhaka. Thanks for everything.😍