Granit Xhaka has questioned his own red card record, while also explaining his thoughts on seeing his Arsenal contract extended.
It did not seem likely that Xhaka would be staying with Arsenal this summer. Before Euro 2020 began, he became a top target for ex-Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho at Roma. But the Switzerland international impressed on the international stage, potentially prompting an Arsenal rethink.
Ultimately, they never received an offer they deemed acceptable from the Italian side. It left Xhaka somewhat disappointed, but he has returned to north London motivated anyway.
In fact, he captained Arsenal in some of their opening fixtures. Meanwhile, to put an end to the rumours once and for all, Arsenal extended his contract – although they never actually announced it officially.
Regardless, it seemed he was ready to turn a new leaf as his Arsenal career entered a sixth season. But bad habits of old resurfaced when he was sent off against Manchester City recently.
Xhaka’s disciplinary record has been a problem throughout his time in the Premier League. He has regularly faced criticism for various reasons, but this was just more fuel for that fire.
The 28-year-old, though, feels hard done by over the latest sending off, even though he accepts the critcism.
“After such a false start, you get criticised. That’s normal and part of it. Every player has to accept that,” he told Keystone – SDA (via Sport Witness).
“About the red card: brutally surprising! In connection with the Premier League, people often talk about English toughness.
“I hit the ball 100 per cent and got a red. The pictures were not checked by the VAR. I’ve seen tougher tackles that weren’t even assessed as a foul.
“Am I prejudiced against? I don’t know – I don’t want to judge. I’m not going to let it drive me crazy. I can’t undo anything anyway. All I can do is look ahead.”
Xhaka ‘lucky’ to receive new contract
Reflecting on the turn of events this summer that eventually saw him stay put in north London, Xhaka revealed he feels “lucky” to have earned an extension.
He will now continue to be an Arsenal player until 2024 and is motivated to make that time a success, despite the stop-start nature of his season so far.
“I returned to the club from my holidays in excellent shape,” he added.
“The extension of the contract gave me another push. I consider myself lucky with it – besides, I’m healthy, which is the most important thing in the end.”