Granit Xhaka has iterated his desire to stay for the duration of his contract while insisting he wants to improve his relationship with Arsenal fans.
Granit Xhaka has been a divisive figure among Arsenal fans since arriving at the club in 2016. He has been a consistent performer for the Gunners since joining when Arsene Wenger was in charge. The Swiss international has been one of the regulars in the team under three different managers.
His penchant for getting sent off and losing his cool in many crucial games has frustrated the fans consistently. That is because no player has been relied upon by Arsenal in the last six years like Xhaka.
In a special interview with Xhaka on The Players’ Tribune, Xhaka spoke on the different aspects of his life, including playing for Arsenal and his relationship with the Arsenal fans. He focused on an incident in 2019, where he called off fans after constant whistling and jeering him.
Unai Emery stripped Xhaka of the Arsenal captaincy, and the Swiss midfielder looked destined to leave in the next window. During that period, Mikel Arteta was appointed as manager and the Spaniard convinced Xhaka to stay put at the Emirates. Last summer, speculation was rife over a move to AS Roma, but Xhaka remained at Arsenal and signed a new contract.
It’s time for Granit Xhaka to set the record straight.
Coming soon. 13/04/22 pic.twitter.com/1FHVSYXcn2
— Players' Tribune Football (@TPTFootball) April 12, 2022
Xhaka has now iterated his desire to stay at the club for the remainder of his contract and win ‘something special’. His comments from The Players’ Tribune interview were picked up by Daily Mirror, with Xhaka suggesting he is looking forward to improving his relationship with the Arsenal fans.
Xhaka said, “I want to have a better relationship with the people outside, with the fans,” he said. “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. And before that, I don’t leave.””
Many believed Xhaka’s new contract was just to protect his market value after negotiations broke down between Arsenal and AS Roma last summer. The Swiss midfielder was reportedly open to a move, as per reports earlier this year. However, reading his comments, it seems unlikely the new deal was signed as a mere formality.
Xhaka and Thomas Partey have formed a terrific partnership in the middle of the park, and it looks like the base Arteta needs for his attackers and defenders to flourish. While the Swiss international remains adamant about staying at Arsenal, the summer transfer window will answer plenty of questions about where his future lies.