Granit Xhaka reveals just how close he was to leaving Arsenal in comprehensive interview


Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has revealed he was one step away from leaving the north London club in the January 2020 transfer window, claiming “my bags were packed”, only for Mikel Arteta to talk him out of it. stay.

The former Arsenal captain has always divided opinion at the Emirates Stadium, and things came to a head in November 2019 when he was booed by his own fans against Crystal Palace. His response, telling them in no uncertain terms where to go and throwing the captain’s armband to the ground, seemed like a point of no return.

And for Xhaka, it was.

“I’m done with Arsenal,” the midfielder told The Players Tribune. ‘Finish. There was a contract on the table from another club, and all he had to do was sign. I had spoken with my wife, Leonita, and we had decided to leave’.

‘I was going to say goodbye to Mikel and then we would get on the plane.’

That incident occurred in the closing days of the reign of Unai Emery, who was sacked just 6 games after losing 2-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League group stage. He left the Gunners after just 3 wins in their last 11 Premier League games, and after an interim spell, Mikel Arteta was appointed.

And it was the current Arsenal boss who convinced him to change his mind.

‘When Mikel was appointed in December, I told him I wanted to leave,’ Xhaka continued. ‘He fully understood. We had a second conversation a few days later, and when I came in, I had discussed it with my wife. Our bags were literally placed by the door.

‘When I’ve made a decision like that, it’s very difficult to change my mind. But then Mikel started talking about how I was a big part of his plans. I liked the warmth of it. He was honest, direct. Clear plans. I felt that I could trust him. He told me to give him six months to prove him wrong, and then if he still wanted me to leave, no problem.

Granit Xhaka reveals how close he came to leaving Arsenal in a full interview

Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (C) talks to Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (D) after leaving the match injured during the North London Derby, which Arsenal won 3-1. (Photo by IAN KINGTON/IKIMAGES/AFP via Getty Images).

‘My head was gone from Arsenal, but my heart doesn’t’, the 29-year-old admitted.

It is this love that made him commit his future to the club last summer, despite Roma’s interest, and he confirms that he will fulfill his contract at the Emirates if he is allowed, reiterating his confidence in Mikel Arteta and his own desire. succeed in front of the fans that he has forgiven, but not forgotten.

‘After this season, I have two years left on my contract. I think Mikel is building a great team and I want to achieve something special here’, he concluded.

Whether or not it will ever happen is another question.

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first division table

# Team parliamentary D P
one manchester city 31 52 74
two Liverpool F.C. 31 57 73
3 chelsea football club 30 41 62
4 Tottenham Hotspur 31 19 57
5 FC Arsenal 30 9 54
6 West Ham United 32 9 51
7 manchester united 31 7 51
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 32 5 49
9 city ​​of leicester 29 -3 40
10 crystal Palace 31 3 37
eleven Brighton and Hove Albion 31 -9 37
12 Aston-Villa 31 -4 36
13 Brentford FC 32 -9 36
14 Southampton F.C. 31 -fifteen 36
fifteen Newcastle United 31 -twenty 3. 4
sixteen Leeds United 32 -30 33
17 Everton F.C. 30 -19 28
18 Burnley F.C. 30 -19 24
19 Watford F.C. 31 -31 22
twenty norwich city 31 -43 twenty-one
Player Team Goals
Salah, Muhammad Liverpool F.C. twenty
Son, Heungmin Tottenham Hotspur 17
Jota, Diogo Liverpool F.C. fifteen
Mane, Sadio Liverpool F.C. 13
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur 12
Tony, Ivan Brentford FC 12
Ronaldo, Christian manchester united 12
DeBruyne, Kevin manchester city eleven
Zaha, Wilfried crystal Palace eleven
mount, mason chelsea football club 10
Mahrez, Riyadh manchester city 10
Sterling, Raheem manchester city 10
raphinha Leeds United 10
Vardy, Jamie city ​​of leicester 10
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 9
Fernandez, Bruno manchester united 9
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford F.C. 9
So Bukayo FC Arsenal 9
Pukki, Teemu norwich city 9
Smith-Rowe, Emile FC Arsenal 9

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