Arsenal star Granit Xhaka will “get a statue in a minute” after coming full circle at the Emirates, Tony Cascarino has joked. Xhaka has surprised most with his performances this season and has now started to become somewhat of a cult hero with supporters.
The Switzerland midfielder has never had the best of relationships with the Arsenal fans. He famously fell out with them in October 2019 when he was booed off during a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
Xhaka was stripped of the captaincy by Unai Emery and many felt that his time at the club was coming to an end. However, Mikel Arteta convinced him to stay and the decision is finally paying dividends.
The 30-year-old has thrived as a left-sided No 8 this season after playing the majority of his Gunners career in holding midfield. Cascarino has been seriously impressed with the transformation and joked he will be recognised with a statue outside the Emirates soon.
The pundit said on talkSPORT: “He’s going to get a statue in a minute! “He’s been brilliant.
“Out of all the achievements you can do as a footballer, he took so much stick. His career was finished and yet he’s turned it around to such a level. He’s enjoying it, you can see he’s enjoying it.”
Xhaka’s name has started to be sung by Arsenal fans both home and away. And he has revealed to the Mail how he felt when he first heard the chant.
He said: “They started singing and I was so grateful. The first time they sang, it was Brentford, I got emotional a lot, because I didn’t expect that.
“Maybe the people outside can’t see it, but for me it means a lot. I need to feel love from fans.
“And this is what I feel at the moment and why I’m performing like this. It’s much easier to give them something back and fight for them if you feel that.”
Xhaka is one of the longest-serving members of the Arsenal squad. He joined from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016 for a fee of around £35million.
He has come close to leaving on more than one occasion, with Roma interested in the summer of 2021. However, both Arsenal and Xhaka are being rewarded for showing patience and he has now become an indispensable member of the team.