Granit Xhaka reveals he is feeling closer to Arsenal fans

Jude Summerfield
Xhaka is back in the Arsenal team
Xhaka is back in the Arsenal team / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Granit Xhaka has revealed he now feels much closer to the Arsenal fanbase than he did two years ago when he was stripped of the club captaincy.

The Switzerland international returned to Mikel Arteta's starting XI at the start of December having missed just under three months of action with a knee ligament injury.

Things are positive for the Gunners at the moment. They're up to the fourth in the Premier League, having won four games in a row, scoring nine across their last two league outings.

However, when the atmosphere was a little darker at the Emirates in 2019, Xhaka attracted criticism for a few sarcastic gestures in response to the home crowd booing him during a draw with Crystal Palace. He was replaced as Arsenal captain by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, though that situation still needs some clarification following the Gabon international's ousting from the squad.

Speaking to The Athletic, Xhaka said: “I will make mistakes because everyone does. We are not perfect. But I will give 100 per cent in every training session and every game. This is my message to the fans.

"Sometimes you have misunderstandings and I believe this was the only reason for the problem we had between us. I feel much more love than one or two years ago but it is a slow process we have to do with each other.”

Speaking specifically about the Palace incident, he added: “This is part of my life for sure. I had difficulties before, but not in this kind of way.

"In the end I took it very positively and if one day in the future I speak about it with my kids I know I will be able to smile because it was a key to make me a stronger person and also stronger connected to the football club.”

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