Goalgist 29

Granit Xhaka has insisted he won’t leave Arsenal until he’s achieved “something special” while expressing his desire to build a stronger relationship with the club’s fans.

Xhaka completed a £35million (N19billion) move to Emirates Stadium from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016, and has since established himself as a key member of the Gunners squad.

The midfielder’s poor disciplinary record has made him a divisive figure among supporters, and he famously told a section of the home faithful to “f*ck off” after being booed as he was substituted during a Premier League clash with Crystal Palace in October 2019.

Xhaka was stripped of his captaincy duties by Unai Emery and exiled from the manager’s plans after the incident, but the Spaniard was sacked a month later.

Mikel Arteta was drafted in as Emery’s replacement and he gradually brought Xhaka back in from the cold, with the Switzerland international snubbing transfer interest in favour of staying in north London.

The 29-year-old committed to a new contract to 2024 last August, which he intends to honour, and is eager to build a better rapport with supporters.

Xhaka told Players’ Tribune:

I want to have a better relationship with the people outside, with the fans.

To be closer with them. We never meet them, we never have a conversation with them. They are only seeing us on the pitch, for 90 minutes, and goodbye.

They don’t know how we trained before, they don’t know how you feel, they don’t know if you have problems with your family, they don’t know a lot of points.

After the season I still have two years contract here. I will give everything until I’m at this football club. I always say that. I didn’t sign a new contract to be here for – enjoy my time and that’s it.

No, no, I want to achieve something with this club, something special. Before that, I don’t leave.

Xhaka has recorded 13 goals and 22 assists in 242 games across all competitions over the course of his six-year career at Arsenal.

The former Gladbach star picked up two FA Cup winners’ medals during that time, but won’t be adding to his silverware haul this season with the Gunners already out of all major competitions.


By Amara

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