Granit Xhaka 'Fighting' for Arsenal Future, Talks 'Hurtful' Fan Reaction

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal reacts to the crowd after being substituted by Manager  Unai Emery during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on October 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus)
Visionhaus/Getty Images

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has said he is ready to fight for his future at the club after being stripped of the captaincy.

Xhaka reacted angrily towards supporters after being jeered when taken off in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on Oct. 27. He's not played for the club since, and having been named as skipper by manager Unai Emery earlier in the campaign, the Switzerland international has been replaced by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The saga has called into question whether Xhaka does have a long-term future at Arsenal. Speaking to SonntagsBlick, the 27-year-old said he has not given up on the Gunners (h/t Robin Bairner of Goal).

"You can be sure that I'll keep fighting and putting myself out there in every training session," he said. "I feel that last week has been dealt with and I'm ready. I'm doing very well again, I've trained well this week and am looking forward to my next assignments."

Per Mark Mann-Bryans of the Press Association, Emery has said he's unsure whether Xhaka will still be at the club beyond the January transfer window:

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Xhaka also discussed the moment he was taken off against Palace, much to the delight of a portion of the home crowd:

"When my shirt number lit up on the fourth official's panel and our own fans broke into gleeful jubilation, that hit me very hard and really upset me. It was very hurtful and frustrating.

"I can't understand a reaction like that even now, especially the vehemence of it and the extreme hostility directed against me. As far back as I can remember, fans have always been part of my sport. And right from the start I've had a lot of respect for the fans' enthusiasm and the hardships they endure to support us players."

Here is a reminder of the controversial moment:

Xhaka added that to him it "makes no sense" for fans to jeer their own players and said that such actions "weakens the team's spirit."

While the midfielder has long divided opinion at the Emirates Stadium, the ongoing talk about the player is another negative chapter in what has been a challenging season for the club. 

Legendary former Arsenal forward Ian Wright was critical of the team following their 2-0 loss to Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday:

The Gunners are in sixth position in the table ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixtures but are eight points behind Manchester City, who have a game in hand, in fourth.

Arsenal have a big decision to make regarding Xhaka as to when or if he is integrated back into the team. With the Gunners' next fixture set for Nov. 23, there is plenty of time for the club to consider its options.