Granit Xhaka heaps praise on ‘freak’ Arsenal man

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Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has labelled Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta a ‘freak’ during an interview reflecting on his career at the Emirates Stadium.

The fiery Swiss was quick to show his soft side after singing praises for Gunners boss Arteta during a recent interview with ESPN.

The Gunners veteran joined Arsenal in 2016 from the German side Borussia Monchengladbach for a healthy £40million (Transfermarkt) and has since made 250 appearances in all competitions.

However, the 29-year-old has endured a rough career in London, with the midfielder’s ill-disciplined demeanour splitting the fan base.

Xhaka has claimed that without Arteta and Edu intervening, he could have exited the Emirates.

“Without him [Arteta], I would not be here in this football club anymore,”  Xhaka explained to ESPN during his interview. “He helped me a lot when I was completely down.

“He took me aside, helped me with small things, step by step, tactically, as a person, mentality, between the team and the club, tried to help me as well with the fans. He is a freak in a positive way.

Granit Xhaka with Mikel Arteta

“Tactically, he knows everything. How he prepares the team before training, before the games, is unbelievable. I had a lot of coaches, but I have to put Mikel as one of the top ones in my career.”

The Swiss international explained how he came incredibly close to leaving the Emirates before Arteta and Edu intervened.

“It was something, yes,” he said.

“Very close. Mikel was the guy with [technical director] Edu, they didn’t let me go because they wanted to keep me here.

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“Of course, my first reaction was to stay at the football club, but they opened the door: ‘If something comes, I can leave.’ I have to be honest as well. I don’t want to say a name now, but the door was open for me to leave the club as well. But in the end, people decided to keep me here.”

Xhaka came close to leaving the north London side last season, as reported by Di Marzio, after Jose Mourinho made Xhaka his priority signing as the new manager of Roma.

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