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Premier League • England

Arteta loses player who ‘has given absolutely everything’ for Arsenal after major midfield exit is confirmed

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Arsenal have announced that Granit Xhaka has left the club in order to sign for Bayer Leverkusen on a permanent transfer.

As expected, Xhaka has signed a contract until 2028 with Bayer Leverkusen after passing a medical once their bid to Arsenal had been accepted. It brings an end to his seven-year stay in the Premier League and sees him return to the Bundesliga after a previous spell at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Xhaka was a regular starter for Arsenal last season, in which they came close to winning the Premier League. Ultimately, they finished as runners up to Manchester City.

Arsenal are now ready to try and cut the gap by signing Declan Rice from West Ham. As a consequence, they have allowed Xhaka to leave with their well wishes.

For manager Mikel Arteta, Xhaka was an influential and popular member of the Arsenal squad.

Arteta told the club’s official website, www.arsenal.com: “We are saying goodbye to a fantastic player and person loved by all of us.

“It has been an incredible journey together for him and he has given absolutely everything for this club.

“The influence Granit has had on his team mates on the pitch and colleagues at the club, will tell you just how popular he is.

“We cannot thank Granit enough for his service and contribution to this club over the years. We wish Granit and his family all the best in the next step of their lives.”

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Sporting director Edu echoed Arteta’s respect for the Switzerland international.

Edu said: “Granit has been a big part of our club for a long time. He has given us great commitment and quality over the years, playing such an important role in our progression and success.

“He leaves us with our huge respect and thanks. We wish Granit all the best for the future.”

Xhaka breaks silence on Arsenal exit

Upon his unveiling by his new club, Xhaka has explained why he believes he can immediately adjust back to the Bundesliga and why he was motivated to join his new club.

The 30-year-old told Bayer Leverkusen’s website: “I know the league inside out and I watched it when I was in London.

“Bayer 04 is a club with an impressive history and ambitious targets. Above all, I see it as a club with a great future.

“Discussions with the management have been incredibly motivating. Everybody here is ambitious and wants to achieve something. I’m very much looking forward to the next few years.”

Xhaka has left Arsenal with 297 appearances and 23 goals for the club behind him. He was briefly their captain until an unsavoury incident in 2019, which he eventually bounced back from.

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