Granit Xhaka on leaving Arsenal: "Mikel was the guy who stopped me"
Granit Xhaka has confessed that he was "very close" to leaving Arsenal at one point, and he credits Mikel Arteta with turning his destiny around.
The Swiss midfielder had a very public falling out with Gunners fans in 2019 when he was booed off the pitch after a match against
in the Premier League. Leaving the club seemed inevitable at the time, but his new manager coaxed the belligerent 30-year-old into staying, and he is quickly becoming a fan favourite at
told BBC Sport,
“Of course after that I had one option, which was to leave because it was too much for me. People that were there supporting me for the first three years, today or tomorrow they were not with you. How I dealt with that? In the moment I was so strong. I don’t want to go back and feel the same pain I had. But I was very strong.
“I was very, very close [to leaving]. When I say that, it was like I only had to take my stuff and leave the door. Mikel was the guy who stopped me leaving. I had a good conversation with him, I had never met him before. I told him from the first meeting we had ‘I want to leave’. It was not against him, but the story that happened here, I can’t play again with that shirt.”Arsenal
“I knew myself, and with Mikel and his team, that I can turn things around. I prepared myself for that. I’m not here because my dad is a coach and he is picking his son all the time, I think I have the quality to be a good player for this football club. I want to give something back. Football is not all about going up, you have to fall down sometimes.”
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