Axed Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka feels the controversy that surrounded his bust-up with supporters is now behind him and believes he is ‘ready’ to return to Unai Emery’s starting XI.
The Swiss midfielder had a very public falling out with fans in last month’s draw with Crystal Palace, responding to jeers when his number was shown on the substitution board by cupping his ear to the crowd and telling them to ‘f*** off’.
He has not played since, with Arsenal winless in the matches he has missed against Wolves and Leicester City in the Premier League, Liverpool in the Carabao Cup and Vitoria in the Europa League.
Manager Emery says he ‘does not know’ if Xhaka will play for the club again, while he also claimed the midfielder said he was ‘not feeling good enough to play’.
But Xhaka – who was stripped of the captaincy for his conduct – has contradicted Emery’s remarks and says he is keen to return to action, while he believes he does still have a future at Arsenal.
Asked if he still intends to continue with Arsenal, Xhaka told Blick: ‘You can be sure that I’ll keep fighting and putting myself out there in every training session.
‘I feel that last week has been dealt with and now I’m ready.’
Despite recent drama, he still loves playing for Arsenal, explaining: ‘For me, looking back it’s been very positive for a long time. After a difficult start, I played a lot and overall I’ve had a great time at Arsenal.
‘My family and I also feel very well in the city of London. The events of the last week don’t change that at all.
‘I’ll continue to stay positive, give my all to an even greater extent and prove that I’m an important part of this great team.’
Xhaka was replaced as captain by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and there had been suggestions that Arsenal would look to offload the Swiss midfielder – who skippers his national team – in the January transfer window.
MORE: Arsenal hierarchy still ‘100% behind’ Unai Emery and will not sack him despite Leicester City defeat
MORE: Granit Xhaka hits out at Arsenal fans in new interview after being stripped of captaincy