Granit Xhaka Feared He'd Played His Last Game for Arsenal After Fan Fallout

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIFebruary 24, 2020

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal at full time of the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Everton FC at Emirates Stadium on February 23, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has said he feared he had played his last game for the Gunners after clashing with supporters and losing the club captaincy earlier this season.

The Switzerland international was asked by Simon Collings of the Evening Standard if he thought his Arsenal career was over after he reacted angrily when booed off the pitch against Crystal Palace in October:

"Of course, I don't lie. There was a moment, because it was not easy for me and my family. I hope people understand this.

"But I think I showed my character. I am not a guy who runs away. I always say to the club, 'When I [am] here, I am ready to give everything.' It was like this always. I train very hard and that things turned around is the key. This [has given me] the most happiness."

Xhaka was stripped of the club captaincy by then-manager Unai Emery after clashing with his own supporters at the Emirates Stadium:

Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was handed the captain's armband, while Xhaka took to social media to explain his actions after also receiving online abuse:

The midfielder looked set for a move away from the club in the January transfer window. His agent, Jose Noguera, said Xhaka had agreed terms with Hertha Berlin and wanted to move to Germany, per Sky Sports News.

Yet Arsenal replaced Emery with Mikel Arteta and the new manager made it clear he wanted Xhaka to stay at the club, per PA Media (h/t the Guardian).

A move away did not materialise and Xhaka has gone on to become a regular under the Spaniard. He appears to have the full trust of the new manager and also seems to have won supporters around with a series of committed displays in midfield.

Xhaka now appears set to stay with Arsenal and said he thinks the club have a "big future" under their new manager, per Collings. Arteta has made an encouraging start to life in north London with the team yet to taste defeat in 2020.

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