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Granit Xhaka says 'only one person' at the club wanted him to stay at Arsenal when he was captain

Granit Xhaka says 'only one person' at the club wanted him to stay at Arsenal when he was captain

Xhaka has revealed all.

Former Arsenal star Granit Xhaka claims that only one person from the club wanted him to stay when he was captain in 2019.

Xhaka departed the Gunners last summer to join Bayer Leverkusen, who are currently top of the Bundesliga under the management of Xabi Alonso.

He left as a cult hero at the Emirates Stadium, having been a key part of the side that came close to winning the Premier League title last season while playing in a more attacking role.

It wasn't always that way for the Switzerland international, though. While he was often in superb form while playing for his country, Arsenal fans felt Xhaka struggled to bring that consistency of form to English football.

And in 2019, Xhaka cupped his ears to Gunners fans after they jeered him as he was being substituted against Crystal Palace.

He was stripped of the captaincy, and had agreed a deal to join Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin only to have a change of heart at the last minute.

Xhaka told The Players' Tribune last year: "My bags were packed. The passports were out I was done with Arsenal. Finished.

"I was just going to say goodbye to Mikel [Arteta], and then we would board the plane."

Now, in an interview with The Athletic, the Swiss midfielder has claimed that Arteta was the only person behind the scenes at the club who wanted him to stay.

He explained: "The club showed me little respect even though I was the captain. It was clear they wanted to get rid of me as quickly as possible, apart from one person: Mikel Arteta.

"Mikel told me he wanted me to stay. But I wasn't sure.

"I could not imagine myself playing for Arsenal again. I said to him, 'I just want to be somewhere where the fans don't boo me'. But he was so convincing.

"For the first time in my life, I took a decision without talking to my family first. I got up and said, 'OK, I'll stay'. We embraced and, from that day on, I returned to training and it was like nothing ever happened.

"Mikel picked me up and brought me back to playing at a level I always knew I could play at.

"Four years later, it ended with me almost scoring a hat-trick [against Wolves in his last appearance] and Arsenal fans screaming that they wanted me to stay. It was a goosebumps moment."

Featured Image Credit: Getty / Arsenal

Topics: Granit Xhaka, Arsenal, Premier League