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Granit Xhaka looked certain to leave Arsenal after clashing with supporters and telling them where to go after being booed off during a fixture against Crystal Palace in 2019 – but one man saved his career at the club.
Xhaka, speaking to the media ahead of the release of All or Nothing: Arsenal, spoke openly about his feud with fans and how he owes his last three years in north London to Mikel Arteta.
With the fixture taking place in October of 2019, Arteta replaced Unai Emery the following December and made a point of speaking to Xhaka before the winter transfer window opened.
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While talking about his relationship with the club, Xhaka told Daily Star Sport of Arteta: "He is the guy why I'm still at this football club. All of the club know that.
"Three years ago I was gone. My suitcases were finished, I had a meeting and Mikel came. He wanted to hear my opinion of what happened. I explained to him, and I said to Mikel I remember this exactly, I said Mikel this had nothing to do with you.
"I never played with him of course I knew about him by name but not as a person. I said Mikel I'm gone I can't wear the shirt anymore. He said give me a chance for six months.
"He said if you're still not happy after six months I'm the guy to help you, not run away but you can leave. I said okay. I will stay for you."
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The 29-year-old Switzerland international is now a part of Arsenal's leadership group that includes new skipper Martin Odegaard, having gone some way to repair his relationship with fans.
He went on to talk about his development as a person following the highly-publicised saga, having filmed scenes with his family during the documentary that was made last season.
He said: "Better person? I don't know. I think I was always a good person. But, different.
"A lot of people asked me last season if this was the best Granit since I was here, but I've never had problems in this football club. Not with team-mates not with people in the building. It was only this moment in the Palace game.
"Everything else was fine. So the people see only the moment. They were disappointed. They forgot only the five years."
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