Granit Xhaka: ‘I have a beautiful relationship with the Arsenal fans - I never thought it would be like this’

·2-min read
Granit Xhaka: ‘I have a beautiful relationship with the Arsenal fans - I never thought it would be like this’

Granit Xhaka says he is the happiest he has been in football after turning his Arsenal career around and has backed the Gunners to achieve “something big” this season.

Xhaka has endured some turbulent times during his six years at Arsenal, most notably in 2019 when he was stripped of the captaincy and his relationship with fans appeared broken beyond repair after he rounded on supporters as he was booed from the pitch.

But the Switzerland midfielder has rebuilt that bond with fans and is enjoying a renaissance in the Arsenal team that sits top of the Premier League. Xhaka is playing some of his best football and has played a key role in helping Arsenal win their first three matches of the season under Mikel Arteta.

Speaking about his relationship with the supporters ahead of Saturday’s home game against Fulham, Xhaka said: “It’s changed in a good way.

“I never ever was thinking it would be like this. I never felt how it is at the moment, even when I came to Basel at 16, 17 or 18.

“The most beautiful time is now, with [the fans], but as well with the team and with the club. They are seeing we are doing something in a good way.

“I am feeling good, I am feeling happy, I try to give them something back. Let’s hope that everything goes like this in the future. I don’t want to put something... to be a legend or something. The numbers I have at this football club shows more than words.

“To have more than 250 games for this club is something I feel very proud about. I feel very happy because I have not a lot of people in front of me who achieve these numbers.

“What I want is to feel welcome when I come back, to feel welcome when I come in this dressing room, in the stadium, and to have respect.

Granit Xhaka has turned his Arsenal career around (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Granit Xhaka has turned his Arsenal career around (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“This is what I want because what happened happened, and this is the past. I am looking to the future.”

Xhaka has high hopes for the season with Fulham up next in the Saturday evening kick-off.

“We have a team to achieve something big,” he told Premier League Productions. “We have the Europa League and two [domestic] cups.

“This football club needs titles, this is what we have to put in our minds, in our heads. This has to be the key. It is amazing how the fans support us, not only today, but even in the bad times.

“We are trying to give them something back, week by week, day by day, and let’s stick together. Let’s believe in each other and then we can achieve something big.”