Xhaka is enjoying a brilliant season with Arsenal and continued that on Saturday by scoring in the Gunners’ 3-1 win over north London rivals Tottenham. The midfielder has been thriving in a more advanced role and his form has strengthened his bond with supporters.
Xhaka infamously fell out with Arsenal fans back in October 2019, leading to him being stripped of the captaincy, but he has now rebuilt that connection.
“I’ve had much more good times than bad times at Arsenal,” Xhaka told Arsenal’s match-day programme. “The only real down moments I’ve had were the stuff with the fans three years ago, but everything else for me has been very positive, very happy, and there’s been a lot of respect between everyone.
“It was funny because I was joking with Alex Zinchenko in the warm-up [before the Bournemouth game in August]. They were singing his name after just three weeks at Arsenal. I told him: ‘Alex, I’ve been here for six years and I don’t have a song and you have just got here and you do!’
“So I was joking with him on the pitch beforehand, and then at the end of the game I could hear our supporters singing my name. Maybe they heard me chatting to Alex!
“But seriously, it was an absolutely amazing, amazing feeling for me, because everybody knows what I went through with the fans. That’s in the past now.
“To turn it round and be able to show them the Granit that I always wanted to show them, to feel connected and feel their love gave me much, much, much more self-belief, and also more desire to give them something back.
“So hopefully we can stay with this connection now, not just with me, but with all the players, because it’s very important for us to feel the love from the fans.
“I was a bit surprised when I heard it, I didn’t know what to do, but I want to say how much it meant to me and how much I appreciate it.”