Granit Xhaka departs Arsenal on busy day at the Emirates

By Sports Desk July 06, 2023

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta bid farewell to a “fantastic player and person” as Granit Xhaka left the club for Bayer Leverkusen.

The 30-year-old made the move to the Bundesliga side after a seven-year stint in north London that saw him win the FA Cup twice but also be stripped of the club captaincy.

Xhaka has signed a five-year deal with Leverkusen and the PA news agency understands the deal is worth €25million to the Gunners.

During a topsy-turvy Arsenal career, the Switzerland international was also stripped of the armband by Unai Emery after swearing at supporters as his substitution in a game against Crystal Palace was cheered.

He had decided to leave the club before Arteta was appointed but was convinced to stay and played all-but one Premier League game last season, scoring seven goals from midfield, including two on the final day of the campaign.

Speaking about Xhaka, Arteta enthused about the midfielder, saying: “We are saying goodbye to a fantastic player and person loved by all of us.

“It has been an incredible journey together for him and he has given absolutely everything for this club. The influence Granit has had on his team-mates on the pitch and colleagues at the club, will tell you just how popular he is.

“We cannot thank Granit enough for his service and contribution to this club over the years. We wish Granit and his family all the best in the next step of their lives.”

Xhaka himself is now ready for the start of the next leg of his career, returning to the Bundesliga where he represented Borussia Monchengladbach before joining Arsenal in 2016.

“I know the league inside out and I watched it when I was in London,” he told Leverkusen’s official website.

“Bayer 04 is a club with an impressive history and ambitious targets. Above all, I see it as a club with a great future. Discussions with the management have been incredibly motivating. Everybody here is ambitious and wants to achieve something – I’m very much looking forward to the next few years.”

While Xhaka leaves Arsenal after helping them to finish second in the Premier League last season, winger Reiss Nelson has committed his future to the club by signing a new deal.

The 23-year-old insisted he did not want to miss Arsenal going to the “next level” as he signed a four-year deal, with a one-year option.

Nelson came through ranks with the Gunners but his previous contract had expired having made eight substitute league appearances, scoring a memorable last-gasp goal that saw Arsenal come from two down to beat Bournemouth 3-2.

Arteta’s side ultimately fell short in their title bid as Manchester City pipped them to the crown, but Nelson saw enough to believe there is more to come.

“I’m kind of lost for words, if I’m honest,” Nelson told the club’s official website upon signing his deal.

“I’ve been here since I was eight, I’m 23 now. It’s been a hell of a journey, and I’m just so happy. I’ve been here the good years and bad years, and last year especially.

“I’ve seen the rise that Arsenal have taken. Taking them to new heights and I feel like I want to be part of the journey.

“I want to be part of us going to the next level, which I think the boss, Edu, the backroom staff and the new players and the current players are making.

“So it was a train I really didn’t want to miss and I want to be here for it, so I’m glad that I made the right decision.”

On a busy day for Arsenal, the club also announced Steve Round had left his position on the backroom staff.

Round was appointed as an assistant to Arteta when the Spaniard first took the reins in December 2019 having previously filled similar roles at Everton and Manchester United.

Technical director Edu informed staff on Thursday, with Round’s exit a mutual agreement with the club.

Arteta and Edu are currently plotting for Arsenal to go one better than last season, with movement in the transfer market well under way.

Kai Havertz has already joined from Chelsea while a club-record fee has been agreed with West Ham for Declan Rice, who will undergo a medical on Friday.

Ajax full-back Jurrien Timber is the next who could come through the door as Arsenal prepare for a club-record transfer window outlay.

Related items

  • Sevilla 1-2 Barcelona: Bittersweet farewell for Xavi as Barca end season with a win Sevilla 1-2 Barcelona: Bittersweet farewell for Xavi as Barca end season with a win

    Barcelona ended the season with a 2-1 victory at Sevilla in LaLiga on Sunday, making departing coach Xavi's farewell bittersweet after a trophy-less season.

    La Blaugrana came out all guns blazing from the start and took the lead in the 15th minute through Robert Lewandowski who scored from close range after latching onto Joao Cancelo's cross.

    Sevilla levelled with Youssef En-Nesyri's strike in the 31st minute and went close again but failed to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen before Barca got the winner on the hour through Fermin Lopez.

    Barca were already guaranteed second place going into Xavi's final game. The Spaniard was sacked on Friday, after a disappointing campaign in which they lost the Spanish Supercopa final to Real Madrid and were knocked out of the Champions League by Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-final.

    Data Debrief: A legend departs

    Xavi never lost any of his six games as a manager against Sevilla in LaLiga (W5 D1), making them just the third opponent that he faced six times without defeat (also W5 D1 against Real Mallorca and Osasuna).

    Fermin got the all-important goal to ensure Xavi's tenure ended on a high note. He has scored seven goals in LaLiga in 2024, a record surpassed by only one other Spanish player in Europe's top five leagues this year: Iago Aspas (eight). 

  • Verona 2-2 Inter: Arnautovic double earns point for Serie A winners Verona 2-2 Inter: Arnautovic double earns point for Serie A winners

    Champions Inter end their Serie A season with a 2-2 draw against Verona thanks to a Marko Arnautovic double.

    The Austrian opened the scoring after 10 minutes with a neat finish, but Inter were soon pegged back as Tijjani Noslin equalised six minutes later.

    The Dutchman then set up Tomas Suslov for their second to turn the game on its head, but another smart finish from Arnautovic on the stroke of half-time ensured they would salvage a point.

    Simone Perilli proved the hero for Verona in the end, pulling off a string of fine saves to keep his side level.

    Data Debrief: Landmark for Inzaghi

    Simone Inzaghi has now earned 250 points as a coach in Serie A with Inter, an achievement only Roberto Mancini has reached so far with the Nerazzurri in the three-points-per-win era (436). This draw takes him up to the landmark after 77 wins and 19 draws (18 losses).

    After winning the Scudetto with five games to go, Inzaghi has led Inter to 94 points in Serie A, with only three teams ever earning more points in a single campaign in the competition in the three-points-per-win era: Inter in 2006-07 (97) and Juventus in 2013-14 (102) and 2017-18 (95).

  • Bonucci calls time on glittering career Bonucci calls time on glittering career

    Leonardo Bonucci has called time on his glittering career, after playing his final game for Fenerbahce.

    The decorated defender announced on Saturday that he would retire at the end of the Turkish Super Lig season, which concluded with Ismail Kartal's side inflicting a 6-0 rout on Istanbulspor.

    However, it was not quite enough to snatch the title from Galatasaray, who finished three points clear after a 3-1 victory at Konyaspor on the final day.

    Bonucci, who signed from Union Berlin in January, was given a wonderful reception as he was presented with a plaque before the game, in which he came on as a 64th-minute substitute.

    The 37-year-old enjoyed the most success during his career with Juventus, where he won eight Serie A titles and reached two Champions League finals, while he helped Italy to glory at Euro 2020.

    "It was a pleasure for me to be a part of this wonderful family," he said of his time at Fenerbahce on Saturday. "I tried to show my best on and off the field.

    A statement on the club website paid tribute to Bonucci, reading: "It was an honour to see a legend like you in a Cubuklu jersey. 

    "At this special moment of your career, we would like to thank you on behalf of the entire Fenerbahce family. We wish you successful and healthy days in which you will be a part of football in your future life."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.