Arsenal

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Premier League • England

Granit Xhaka locks himself to Arsenal amid ambition for ‘special’ achievement, despite lingering links

Granit Xhaka red card, Liverpool v Arsenal January 2022

Granit Xhaka has suggested he will be staying at Arsenal after vowing not to leave until he can achieve “something special” with his current club.

Xhaka’s future at Arsenal has been in doubt at various stages of his career. First, his removal from the role of captain after an angry reaction towards jeering fans in 2019 caused controversy. However, he eventually fought back for his place.

Then, though, in the summer of 2021 he became a top target for Jose Mourinho at Roma. Rather than making the move, however, the fact that the clubs could not agree a transfer fee caused Xhaka to sign a new contract with Arsenal.

He admitted he was lucky to receive it at the time, but has gone on to feature regularly again under Mikel Arteta. Still, there have been murmurs that Mourinho may revive his interest this summer.

But Xhaka – tied down to Arsenal until 2024 – has been speaking of his desire to win over any remaining Arsenal critics recently. In turn, he has said nobody can stop him staying at the club.

Now, in a new interview, the midfielder has taken things further. Speaking to The Players’ Tribune, Xhaka insists he wants to be an Arsenal player until he has recorded a significant accomplishment with them.

He said: “I want to have a better relationship with the people outside, with the fans. To be closer with them.

“We never meet them. We never have a conversation with them. They are only seeing us on the pitch, for 90 minutes, and goodbye.

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“They don’t know how we trained before, they don’t know how you feel, they don’t know if you have problems with your family, they don’t know a lot of points.

Xhaka to ‘give everything’ to Arsenal

“After the season I still have two years contract here. I will give everything until I’m at this football club. I always say that.

“I didn’t sign a new contract to be here for… enjoy my time and that’s it. No, no, I want to achieve something with this club, something special. And before that, I don’t leave.”

To date, Xhaka has won four trophies with Arsenal: the FA Cup and Community Shield twice each. He has also been a runner-up once each in the Europa League and Carabao Cup.

But Arsenal have been without Champions League football since reaching the Round of 16 in 2016-17, which was Xhaka’s first season at the club. Their target is to return there, but it is still in the balance this season.

In the bigger scheme of things, they are without a Premier League title since their invincible season of 2003-04. How high Xhaka’s ambitions and hopes go is as yet unclear.

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