Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has revealed that he wanted to leave the club following is a clash with the fans seasons ago.
The decision to leave the London club came after a now-infamous game against Crystal Palace back in October 2019; in which Xhaka, who was Arsenal’s captain at the time, was subbed off as the Gunners threw away a two-goal lead and was roundly booed off as the midfielder made his way off the pitch, to which Xhaka responded by cupping his ear and throwing his shirt to the ground.
In a candid interview with The Players Tribune, Xhaka said of the incident: “My bags were packed. The passports were out. I was done with Arsenal. Finished. There was a contract on the table from another club, and all I had to do was a sign. I had talked with my wife, Leonita, and we had decided to leave,”
“That day against Crystal Palace, things went over the line. I was taken off after about an hour. I had barely begun to move when I heard the boos. And it was not just a few guys in the corner — it was a lot of people. I was shocked.
“I talked back, I cupped an ear, and when I got off the pitch I threw my shirt on the ground and went down the tunnel. Was I wrong to do what I did? Yes. But would I do anything differently if it happened again tomorrow? Honestly, I don’t know.”
The player has since become an important part of the team and is one of the most trusted players under Mikel Arteta as they fight to finish in the top four.