Granit Xhaka Dismisses Arsenal Exit Rumours, Talks Gunners Captaincy Ambitions

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2019

VALENCIA, SPAIN - MAY 09: Granit Xhaka of FC Arsenal looks on prior to the UEFA Europa League Semi Final Second Leg match between Valencia and Arsenal at Estadio Mestalla on May 9, 2019 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has said he has ambitions to become captain of the club and has dismissed speculation linking him with an exit.

Rumours have started to gather pace about the Switzerland international as of late regarding a possible summer move, three years on from his arrival at the Emirates Stadium from Borussia Monchengladbach.

Per Metro, Inter Milan are reportedly interested in the playmaker, with Arsenal said to be valuing him in the region of £35.6 million.

Xhaka was asked about the rumours by Blick (h/t Chris Burton of Goal) and said he wasn't considering a departure at this point.

"Not that I know," he said when asked if he would be moving clubs. "I have another four years' contract; I only signed last year. I'm happy there—my family, too. That's the most important thing."

Xhaka was also asked if he would like to be Arsenal skipper if he were to stay. "It would certainly be the dot on the I," the 26-year-old responded.

When the midfielder arrived at the club in 2016, he had developed a reputation as one of European football's rising stars, having excelled at the heart of the Monchengladbach team. However, his transition to English football wasn't smooth, and opinion remains divided three years on.

WhoScored.com provided the numbers behind Xhaka's previous Premier League season compared to Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Granit Xhaka vs Jordan Henderson Which Premier League midfielder are you backing to control proceedings when Switzerland face England today? Full match preview -- https://t.co/UITESOv1w0 https://t.co/LForDADDTK

When he is on form, Xhaka is capable of having a positive influence on the Arsenal midfield.

He has an excellent left foot and a varied passing range, making him someone who can manage games from central areas. Additionally, Xhaka is not someone who will shirk physical battles, as he's consistently fighting in aerial duels and putting in tackles.

However, Xhaka is prone to major lapses in concentration. On the ball, he can dally and be indecisive. His defensive awareness often leaves much to be desired as well, with runners frequently getting into dangerous positions without being tracked on the edge of the penalty area.

As James McNicholas of Gunnerblog noted, a lot of Arsenal supporters would be glad to see the player shipped out:

gunnerblog @gunnerblog

Arsenal fans seemingly more excited about the prospect of selling Xhaka than any potential signing.

Chris Godfrey of the Guardian also said he'd like to see Xhaka make a move to Inter Milan:

Chris Godfrey @ChrisPJGodfrey

If Inter Milan buy Xhaka and AC Milan buy Mustafi I will happily spend the next year writing free copy for the Milan tourist board, urging people to visit this majestic city. https://t.co/x8kHGIvysn

If Xhaka were to be sold, it would add to the rebuilding job Arsenal already have to do in midfield. After all, they have lost midfielder Aaron Ramsey to Juventus, while the future of Mesut Ozil remains uncertain after he fell out of favour under manager Unai Emery last season.

Xhaka may not be unanimously popular in north London, but he's used to Premier League football and was a mainstay in the Arsenal setup last season, making 29 appearances in the top flight. Losing him would give the Gunners more recruitment to do in a summer where plenty is already required.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.