“Definitely! My career started here and there it is a goal, actually, my dream to return someday. That certainly won’t be the case at 28, I’ll be honest. It’ll probably be more like Alex Frei, who’s the best example of how to do it. He came back once he was in his thirties, but still performed and helped FCB win a few titles. Of course, the expectations are high when you come back again, but it is clearly a dream”.
These are the words of Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, and if you’re a fan of his, then you probably won’t be all too thrilled to learn this. The 26 year old made the jump over to the Emirates from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016, but prior to that, he was a driving force for Swiss side Basel from when he was a young boy all the way up until he was considered to be one of the brightest young midfielders in the game.
It’s fair to say that Granit has divided opinions over the course of the last few years, with his inconsistency at times being used as a tool to throw criticism his way. While there’s a certain degree of validity to those claims it definitely isn’t a universal thought, and this season, it feels as if Xhaka has been taking steps towards improving his game and boosting his chances of remaining in the first team with Arsenal.
Of course, this news will irritate some fans who are behind him, even though it’s clear to see that he isn’t interested in going back to Switzerland for at least a few years yet. He’s always been viewed as someone who would remain loyal to his roots which seems to be more of a ‘thing’ around Europe that it is in England, and to be honest, it’s hard to begrudge him for that.
All that we’d ask, as fans, is that he gives it his best for as long as he remains in North London. Unai Emery has been slowly but surely placing more faith in him as a starter and a squad player in general, and it’d be nice to see that trust being repaid. Of course, we’re probably thinking way too far ahead of ourselves, but such is the nature of the dreaded international break.
When do you think Granit Xhaka will make the move back home to Basel?