Friday, March 1, 2024

Confirmed: Bayer Leverkusen sign Granit Xhaka

Bayer Leverkusen have confirmed the signing of Granit Xhaka in a deal worth £21.5 million, including add-ons.

The Switzerland international, 30, undertook his medical in Cologne this afternoon after the final paperwork was completed last night.

He leaves Arsenal after seven years having won the FA Cup and Community Shield twice apiece in 2017 and 2020. In total, he made 297 appearances for the Gunners, scoring 23 goals and making 29 assists.

For a brief period during Unai Emery’s tenure, Xhaka held the captain’s armband but was later stripped of the honour following his infamous on-field meltdown against Crystal Palace in November 2019.

That incident, added to his occasional lapses in concentration and his reputation amongst referees as a ‘bad boy’, shifted him from a ‘marmite figure’ to persona non grata in the eyes of many supporters.

Amazingly, in the last two seasons, he bounced back to become a popular figure on the terraces, a testament to his professionalism and the positive influence of Mikel Arteta.

The Spaniard persuaded Xhaka to turn down a move to Hertha Berlin in the early weeks of his time in charge and the midfielder has found a way to flourish in a team that has had its growing pains.

His transition in the last 12 months from midfield anchor to penalty box threat has been nothing short of a revelation and his form and experience has, in no small part, helped Arteta’s young side to over-achieve this year.

In some respects, it’s sad that Xhaka won’t get the chance to enjoy the Champions League football he so craved. At the same time, Leverkusen’s offer of a five-year contract and the chance to return to Germany has proved too tempting for him and his family. Fair enough.

Granit can leave with his head held high, especially after signing off with a brace of goals on the final day of the season. We’re thankful for his service and wish him all the best for the future.

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Gabriel's Gleaming Teeth

Love him. Sad to see him go – what a redemption!

Bleeding Gums Murphy

Really good business. Wish him well.

Johnny 4 Hats

It’s getting tough to know quite how good or bad business a transfer is. Apparently this deal, like so many, is comprised of multiple add-ons. How achievable they are, no one knows. So it could be an £12m fee with a lot of unlikely add-ons. Same with Havertz. If the add-ons are pretty improbable then £50m could be a great bit of business. But £65m seems a bit steep. Anyway, I digress. Love you Granit! Will miss you loads. Thanks for everything. Sorry that for 5 seasons I’ve wanted to upgrade you and now you’re going I wish you were… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

I don’t know why but one of my fondest Granit memories was when he fly-kicked the fuck out of Jota when he went through on goal.

Although it sucked that he got a deserved red, I just couldn’t help but laugh. It was so Granit. No one else in top flight football does that.

Btgooner

Yes! Great moment in All or Nothing when he defended that fly-kick!! 😂😭😂

Heavenly Chapecoense855

Really good business with De Clan costing 85M more for 6 more seasons if compared with Xhaka? Where are the fans professional in finance to calculate annual amortization, future football inflation etc.?

Teryima Adi

I will miss, Xhaka. Here’s wishing you all the best in all your future endeavours.🙏🏾

╰(*´︶`*)╯♡

He’s a legend. Completely unique figure at the club and will forever be in my favourites

Gooner49

Did we actually just get a good/ reasonable price for one of our players…..?

Johan

Possibly, it’s hard to say without knowing how achievable those add-ons are.

Master Floda

Just like we did for Iwobi and Willock. The problem with those whom we had to pay to leave was that they were crap. You can’t sell players nobody wants (well, unless you’re Chelsea)

Public Elneny Number One

I’ll miss Granit, i certainly wouldn’t have thought that a few seasons ago. What a turnaround for him and what a fantastic season he’s had. Fair play to him.

sAMa

Farewell

allezkev

Good move for him, good fee for us.

AusGunner

🙁

Bringowsky

Always in my heart as a gooner. Great guy.
He was made a scapegoat during our bad times, by soulless glory hunters, and the way he came back was admirable.
Thanks Granit. Wishing the best for your life and career ahead.

Ozzie

My thoughts exactly. He was an easy target when things were bad.

The Beast

Everyone will, rightfully, have their opinion on Xhaka’s time at Arsenal but I agree 100%.

Thought he was scapegoated during one of the most toxic times at the club I can remember & he comes out the other end with the vast majority wishing him well & some even wanting him to stay on. Great player & professional.

Fezec

Well well well. For many a season I never thought I’d feel anything but relieved at Xhaka leaving the club. While I absolutely detest vocal booing or hazing of our own, I remember feeling I didn’t want to see the lad in our shirt again after that Palace game. But he taught me a real lesson. To bring himself back from the brink like that. To get his head down. To lead the team like he did and to have a near flawless season in 22/23… he proved right all the positive character references from those close to the game.… Read more »

LimparsRightCalf

Great comment.

Ozzie

Great Post Fezec, every word!

North Bank Gooner

Good luck for the future Granit!

Savage

When Granit becomes a manager, his teams are going to be helluva tough to play against!

Letters

Goodby sweet prince .

MeW1lko

Would have been good to keep him around but fantastic business to get £21.4m for him, £13m seemed like a bargain

£30m for Partey and get Lavish for about the same and I think midfield is set

Cygan’sbaldspot

Why do people think that the 19 year old Lavia is a capable replacement for Partey? If Partey goes we need 2 in – Lavia would be fine as a future project but we need somebody whose ready to contribute immediately. People just fall for media narratives. Have you ever even seen him play lol? Partey was the best 6 in the league for 75% of the season- big boots to fill.

Savage

More likely that Rice replaces Partey, with Lavia as backup, and Havertz in the Xhaka role.

Partey is world class, but there’s a good time to sell, and this might be it.

martinhaze

Why do we need 2 replacements if Partey goes? We already have Jorginho who can be back-up to Rice in the #6 role. Havertz replaces Xhaka, with Smith Rowe his back-up. Vieira is back-up to Odegaard. And then there’s Elneny as general midfield back-up. Isn’t that enough?

Cygan’sbaldspot

I don’t disagree that we should sell Partey. But I think they’ll go for somebody else.

sloshburger

you’re the one playing football manager mate. we don’t need 3 MFs to replace xhaka and partey. we already have a hard enough time giving games to elneny and blocking the paths of talents like patino

Tomislav

Oh, what a man, loved him from the start. Thanks for everything, Granit!

Theo

It’ll be a little weird watching arsenal play without Xhaka for the first few but i can only wish him success out there. He’s been a great servant for arsenal despite the early glitches (somehow the glitches have only amplified the significance of his latest resurgence).

Letters

This mans Arsenal career is worthy of a feel good movie.
Strangely enough I ALWAYS liked him he was just so f’ing honest I couldn’t find a way not to but the ending and his redemption with those that perhaps didn’t always like him was brilliant. And shows why we should never take things for granite,

Robbo

Will be missed, I hope he comes back to coach one day, once a Gunner always a Gunner. Good luck to him in his future.

Mr Manager

Fare thee well, sweet prince

El Mintero

Where does the “sweet prince” thing come from? I find it very strange,…

Erzengel

“Good night, sweet prince” at Hamlet’s death

El Mintero

Yeah exactly, he’s not fkn dead!

SLC Gooner

Are we still able to use the “If that was Granit Xhaka” metric to measure whether cards are being given appropriately?
Seriously, a good servant of the club and best of luck with Leverkusen. He played with passion, which is certainly what I want to see in a player.

Master Floda

Unfortunately, the refs already have picked a new target, so we will be using the “If that was Bukayo Saka” index😤

Fatmao

Gonna miss this guy so much. Never backed down even when things were at breaking point.
Courage 11/10

Badaab

Not always the biggest fan of his playing style, but certainly someone I can empathize and identify with as a person. Best of luck in germany.

RockyRog58

We will miss him & I for one am sad to see him go. Even at his lowest he never hid he always gave it his all despite the “noise” around him He has been out best player these last two seasons and the young lads will miss him most . Good luck Granit Xhaka you were, are & always will be a Gooner 👏👏👏

Frog In Ze Room

We were told for years we lacked character, the supporters were yearning for a leader. And when we got one, he got to be the lightning rod of our woes of the times. I was at the emirates when he threw his shirt and I understood him. Angry Arsenal fan TV was reflecting the mood of that era. Tides have turned since and the Mikel revolution show the true Granite he is. A intelligent hard worker. He is one of my favourite players of all time. Thank you, You will be miss oh captain my captain.

Ozzie

Absolutely! Since losing adams ,keown ,Vieira we moaned about not having leaders or players with character – there goes one of the greatest leaders this club has known, right up there with Tony Adams.

ant

For a player who is at his prime, i think it would have been fair to keep him or sell him for 40 mil at least.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Players who are good servants to the club get to choose where they go when they reach 30 and they want a multi year contract. In the end players choose. Keeping Xhaka for another year and then he leaves on a free isn’t good business for the club.

Jamie Ryan

It speaks volumes to Xhaka’s character that he bears no (public) ill will to a fanbase that almost universally chastised him and in parts spat vitriol at his wife and children. No one should experience what he did–and certainly not for poor job performance. I wish Xhaka and his family all the best.

chepetin

We all knew this was going to happen but man, it is sure odd to see it in print and all done and dusted.

Merlin’s Panini

Fair fucks to him. I’ve never seen a player fall so badly out of favour with the fans and turn it around like he did. He also restored some of his transfer value in the process.
Sad he won’t play for us in the Champions League but I suppose this was the optimum time to sell.
I’d have been happy for him to stay. If Partey leaves too then I’d want to see one more midfield signing.

David C

I still think he’s worth more!

Best of luck to Xhaka! I could see him being a great coach one day as well.

David Cantor

I agree. It became very apparent these past two years why Arteta wanted him to stay. Xhaka’s football brain seemed to be unmatched amongst his teammates. (Perhaps barring Ode). Yes we had leaders everywhere, but i don’t think anyone’s voice on the pitch was more important than Xhaka’s.

Gunnerjoe

Good luck

Vonnie

One of my favourite Arsenal players ever, even though this has been coming I’m still in tears. We will miss Granite, but I wish him all the very best for the future and hope we see him back at the Emirates one day. Once a Gunner always a Gunner, and he was one very special Gunner.

Sancho

Only Jamie Lannister had a better redemption arc 🙂
All the best Granit!

Man Manny

😢😢😭
I am missing him already. I loved this warrior in an Arsenal shirt.
I wish Xhaka all the best – and more – at Bayer Leverkusen.

GoonerD

I’m going to miss Xhaka. A lot. Perfect time to say farewell though, wish him every success in Germany.

Jo John

Thank you Granit – good luck and look forward to seeing you back in a coaching capacity in the future.

Chris

Honestly sorry to see him go, thinking back he was a massive liability at times but also a model professional at other times. So long Granit and thanks for the memories!

Qwaliteee

Gutted.

Just hoping this one doesn’t come back to seriously bite us in the backside if and when injuries and suspensions kick in.

We definitely need another top quality midfielder – in addition to Rice.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Havertz?

(arYse)

I was so excited when he signed, well played Granit and you did not disappoint. I never fully understood the disarment of the captinancy (very strange).

Dr. Gooner

This was the perfect way to say goodbye. That he was a mainstay for three different managers speaks to his reliability, availability and affability too. He’s the kind of employee any boss would want. Once Arsenal developed an identity under Mikel Arteta, his place was always going to be under threat because he simply wasn’t born with enough fast twitch muscle fibers (disclaimer: I’m making stuff up, but you get my drift). He’s sort of a throwback in many ways: as a somewhat plodding, tall and strong, Uber committed, very one footed midfield general, he might have looked at home… Read more »

Baz

Once he got played in the ideal position, and had the players around him to let him do what was natural to him, he was fantastic.

It’s just a shame that both Wenger and Emery didn’t achieve that.

Would have preferred him to stay along with getting Rice but if it was one or the other we made the right choice.

Decent fee too. Hope he has a few good years at Leverkusen.

215Arse

I remember when he signed that I thought we were getting the next Xabi Alonso. It didn’t quite pan out that way, but he never hid. He was here throughout a lengthy period of transition, yet always gave his all. Wish he was staying, but it’s the right time to sell.

I think my favorite moment was that screamer he hit in the 3-3 match at home to Liverpool. Sadly we gave up the tying goal a few minutes later, but that goal lifted the roof off the Emirates.

arsenish

Thank you Granit! You have been an example of not giving up and turning things around from impossible situation. From a sink or swim situation, you rose up to be captain! Best wishes, hope you achieve success at Leverkusen! ❤️

Fahim Hussain

Ah this one stings. I haven’t been this hurt by a player leaving since Cesc and when I really think about it, this hurts more. Consummate professional, a real general who would do anything for his teammates. He was the real captain. We’ve lost an anchor in our team. The crest sits on top of the chest but you know he played as though it was in his chest. Replacing him goes beyond what he offers on the pitch and we will be weaker for it, but at the same time it did have to happen. One of my all… Read more »

Thaddy

Sad to see you leave, after a stunning season. I thought you were unbelievable, reason why you won my vote for Arsenal player of the year. Have loved your passion and commitment for a long time. Go well, mate!

Rezatron

Who’ll stand up for the kids in the next tussle?! All the best Xhaka.

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