Fabrizio Romano: Midfielder ‘Always Been Key for Arsenal Project’ and Was Never Close to Exit This Summer

Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka has long been linked with a move away from Arsenal, with AS Roma seemingly leading the race for the Swiss international according to several reports.

However, speaking in his exclusive CaughtOffisde column, Fabrizio Romano has revealed that an exit was never on the cards for Granit Xhaka this summer, saying: “The truth is, there was absolutely nothing between Xhaka and Roma or Bayer Leverkusen this summer, despite rumours to the contrary.

“He’s always been key for Arsenal project and his departure was never close this year.”

There Was No Contact Between Granit Xhaka and AS Roma This Summer

A New Beginning for Granit Xhaka at Arsenal

As Romano explained, Mikel Arteta has always viewed Granit Xhaka as a vital member of the Arsenal squad, with the midfielder undergoing a huge transformation at the start of this season.

Read More: Arsenal Predicted Starting Line-up vs Brentford for September 18

Xhaka has seen his role change within the starting line-up and has now been given more freedom to express himself in the attacking third of the pitch – a decision which has benefitted the 29-year-old tremendously. Aside from just his improved performances, his relationship with the Arsenal fans also seems to be on the up.

His alliance with the Arsenal faithful has been strained ever since 2019 when, during a home match against Crystal Palace, Xhaka gestured profanity toward the home crowd and even threw the captain’s armband onto the floor in anger. Unai Emery, the Arsenal manager at the time, had no choice but to strip him of the Arsenal captaincy.

Granit Xhaka no longer felt the love from the Arsenal fans, and this was one of the main reasons behind his desire to leave the club.

Fixed Relations

However, this relationship seems to be on the mend this season. His improved performances have led to the Arsenal fans chanting his name once more, with the midfielder even being named as the Arsenal captain by Arteta in their recent 3-0 victory over Brentford.

The fact that this decision was not frowned upon by the fans demonstrates just how far Xhaka has come since that infamous incident nearly three years ago and the midfielder looks happy to be an Arsenal player again.

Read More: Talks On: Fabrizio Romano Reveals Chelsea Are ‘Set to Reach Agreement’ on Personal Terms for ‘Mastermind’ New Sporting Director

As Romano explained, Granit Xhaka was not close to leaving the North London club this summer and given his excellent displays this season, as well as his seemingly improved relationship with the fans, that is likely to remain true for the foreseeable future.