Sporting director Edu and manager Mikel Arteta have thanked Granit Xhaka for his seven years of service after Bayer Leverkusen confirmed the signing of the Switzerland international on a five-year deal.
Xhaka’s move to Germany draws a line under a tempestuous spell in North London during which he spectacularly lost the support of the terraces and, against the odds, won it back again.
He was both a remarkably consistent presence – he leaves Emirates Stadium just three appearances short of 300 – while also being such an erratic character that you could never quite figure him out.
297 appearances. 23 goals. 29 assists. Two FA Cups. And one inspirational story.
Granit Xhaka: forever a part of the Arsenal family ❤️ pic.twitter.com/gbgRVicFiM
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 6, 2023
We thought he was going to be a box-to-box midfielder. He wasn’t. We settled on him being a holding midfielder. And he made a fist of it. What nobody saw coming (Arteta aside) was his rebirth as an attacking threat, which he pulled off with aplomb over the last 18 months.
Throughout his time at the club, Xhaka was always respected by his coaches and teammates who always considered him an important voice in the dressing room and even voted him club captain.
“Granit has been a big part of our club for a long time,” reflected Edu. “He has given us great commitment and quality over the years, playing such an important role in our progression and success. He leaves us with our huge respect and thanks. We wish Granit all the best for the future.”
Mikel Arteta added: “We are saying goodbye to a fantastic player and person loved by all of us. It has been an incredible journey together for him and he has given absolutely everything for this club.
“The influence Granit has had on his team mates on the pitch and colleagues at the club, will tell you just how popular he is.
“We cannot thank Granit enough for his service and contribution to this club over the years. We wish Granit and his family all the best in the next step of their lives.”
Bidding farewell to the club via a message on Instagram, Xhaka wrote:
Gunners, it’s been some journey – and all that’s left is for me to say thank you.
I’ve spent seven years at Arsenal. The club has become such an important part of my life – and it’s not easy to leave. But now is the right time for a new adventure.
There are so many people I need to thank – the managers I played for, all my team-mates and the staff behind the scenes.
And I especially want to thank all of you. Everyone knows we’ve been through some tough times. But we came through them together – and I’ll never ever forget the feeling I had each time we won the FA Cup or whenever I heard you singing my name. Pure goosebumps!
I will always carry Arsenal in my heart. Once a Gunner, always a Gunner.
Thank you ❤️
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