Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has admitted that he hasn’t refused the possibility of becoming the club captain again but added that he wasn’t ready for that when it was offered to him. The Swiss international was stripped of the captaincy in 2019 and hasn’t worn the armband for the club since.
Ever since he arrived at Arsenal, few players have been as divisive a figure as Granit Xhaka has with the midfielder’s performances and disciplinary record often criticized. However, things went from bad to worse in 2019 when the 29-year-old was booed by the fans and reacted badly, which saw him stripped of the captaincy. Things became so bad that Xhaka was reportedly on his way out and has since confirmed that he wanted to leave, amidst rumours of a move to AS Roma, but the situation changed.
Under Mikel Arteta, the 29-year-old has found a new lease on life and has become integral to Arsenal’s fight for Champions League this term. But Xhaka has never worn the armband since being stripped off it although he admitted that he hasn’t completely refuted the possibility of becoming the club captain again. However, he also added that there are different ways to be a leader and that is what he is trying to do now.
"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,” Xhaka told Sky Sports.
One of the reasons for Xhaka staying at the club was Mikel Arteta as the Arsenal boss reportedly convinced the Swiss international to stay and help him build a squad. That was confirmed by the 29-year-old and he revealed that the Spaniard is one of the reasons why he has improved and become even better now. Not only that, Xhaka added that Arteta has supported him despite a few mistakes here and there.
"Mikel and I are very close, When he came two years ago he told me exactly what I wanted to hear. I was missing a coach like him, very warm and open with clear ideas and he is always behind me no matter what people were saying about me."
"I am not just like this on the weekend but day to day. I am 29 but I want to improve. I am still hungry to achieve something and I want to give Mikel something back because he was always the guy who supported me,” he added.