• News

Arsenal: Xhaka explains how Arteta revived his career in 2019

Xhaka at Arsenal
"Granit Xhaka" by Shotboxer Portland is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Swiss midfielder came close to leaving Arsenal after a run of poor performances under Unai Emery.

Granit Xhaka has opened up on Mikel Arteta’s key role in convincing him to stay at Arsenal in 2019.

During a challenging period for Arsenal under then-manager Unai Emery, Xhaka faced criticism from fans and was booed during a match. 

Despite a move to Hertha Berlin being on the horizon, Arteta’s intervention persuaded him to reconsider. In an interview with the Athletic, Xhaka said“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.”

Under Arteta’s guidance, Xhaka’s final season at Arsenal proved fruitful, with the midfielder registering nine goals and seven assists.

Xhaka added on Arteta’s influence: “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.”

Since leaving Arsenal, Xhaka has become a cornerstone of Bayer Leverkusen’s midfield line as they lead the Bundesliga table under Xabi Alonso.