Granit Xhaka has maintained that he would “never say never” to the chance to lead the club again.

Under Unai Emery, the former Borussia Monchengladbach man was awarded the armband for the 2019-20 season following Laurent Koscielny’s acrimonious departure.

Xhaka had been in the English capital for three years at that time but had developed a tense relationship with the Arsenal crowd, which reached a head during a match against Crystal Palace in October 2019.

The Switzerland’s sub was greeted with applause during the 2-2 draw, and he replied by profanely addressing the hostile home crowd while also cupping his ear toward the spectators.

Emery stripped Xhaka of his captaincy following his outburst, and the Swiss midfielder was widely anticipated to leave in the January transfer window.

Mikel Arteta, on the other hand, convinced Xhaka to stay despite the midfielder recently confessing he was on the point of leaving, and he has gained the Spaniard’s trust over the last couple of years.

When asked by Sky Sports News if he would take on the captain’s responsibility again, Xhaka said: “I will never say never. I was not ready for that again.

“A captain of Arsenal can be without an armband and I am trying to lead the game and the players without the armband, but if tomorrow someone from the football club comes and asks if I want to take it I will be here because I know I am ready again to do it.

“After this happened people were telling me this is not hate but for me, this was absolutely hate. I know what hate is and I know what is love and what is between this. This was not in between, it was not love. It was hate.

“I have had very positive feedback from the fans and from social media and I was very proud of myself. You don’t get a lot of players talking about this, being very open, they are scared for the future.

“For me, it was the perfect time. You still have people that say you won’t change our opinion but that is fine, the most important thing is how I feel and that is very good.”

Along with Xhaka, Martin Odegaard and Kieran Tierney are regarded to be the frontrunners to succeed Lacazette as captain, with the former having already captained the Norway national team.

Xhaka spent six years with Arsenal, making 245 games in all competitions, and won two FA Cups and two Community Shields during that time.


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