Xhaka reveals conversation with Arteta that stopped him leaving Arsenal

Granit Xhaka says his ‘suitcases were packed’ until Mikel Arteta convinced him to stay at Arsenal shortly after being appointed Gunners boss.

The midfielder’s days at the club’s looked to be over after he was jeered by his own supporters when being substituted by Unai Emery against Crystal Palace in October 2019.

Getty Images – Getty

Xhaka reacted badly after being substituted off against Palace back in October 2019

Many thought this was the last time the Swiss star would play for the Gunners

Getty Images – Getty

Many thought this was the last time the Swiss star would play for the Gunners

Xhaka then removed his shirt and stormed down the tunnel

Getty Images – Getty

Xhaka then removed his shirt and stormed down the tunnel

He then riled them further by angrily waving and cupping his ear sarcastically before removing his shirt and storming down the tunnel at the Emirates Stadium.

Captain of the Gunners at the time, it seemed that the writing was on the wall for the Swiss star until Arteta came in to replace Emery as head coach.

Speaking to the BBC, the 29-year-old admits that he was all set to leave the north London club until Arteta spoke with him and convinced him to stay.

Xhaka said: “He (Arteta) is the reason why I’m still at this football club. All of the club knows why I am still here, because three years ago I was gone.

“My suitcases were packed and finished, but I had a meeting with Mikel when he came. He wanted to hear my opinion about what had happened and I explained to him.

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“I remember it exactly. I told him, ‘It has nothing to do with you’, because I didn’t know him and I never played with him. Obviously I knew his name, but not the person and I said, ‘I’m gone, I can’t wear the shirt any more’.


Xhaka continues to split Arsenal supporters

Getty

Xhaka continues to split Arsenal supporters

“He said, ‘Give me a chance for six months and if you are still not happy after six months, I’m the guy who will help you, not to run away, but you can leave’.

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“I didn’t speak with family, with nobody, and normally I don’t do that. But I said, ‘OK Mikel, I will stay for you’, and I’m still here.”

Asked if he had changed since that day against Palace, he said: “A better person? I don’t know, as I think I was always a good person, but… different.

“Different because a lot of people ask me, ‘was last season the best, Granit, since you are here?’

Xhaka admits he would have left Arsenal were it not for Arteta’s words

Getty

Xhaka admits he would have left Arsenal were it not for Arteta’s words

“But I never had problems at this club, not with teammates, not with people in the building, it was only this moment with the Palace game.

“Everything else was fine with the club. But people only see the moment and they were disappointed and they forgot the other five years.

“But this is part of the business. People don’t see the rest, they see only the moment, and they give you a number whether good or bad.”

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