It seems like a lifetime ago that the season ended, where in reality it has only been a few weeks. Part of the reason for this feeling is that the summer as always has been taken up by a whirlwind of transfer nonsense. Much of which we’ve been involved in. Kai Havertz has arrived to some raised eyebrows, we all know that Declan Rice should be an Arsenal player in the coming minutes/hours/days depending on who you believe. Jurien Timber looks set to arrive from Ajax to bolster the defence. All very exciting but todays post is about an outgoing.

We all knew that eventually Granit Xhaka would be parting ways with the club and this summer seems like the right time for all, even though it could have been a few years previous. To say its been a roller coaster is an understatement, the man himself started his post with “It’s been some journey”. It certainly has.

I don’t think I’ve ever known such a remarkable redemption arc, it’s something Hollywood would be proud of. Frustrater turned villain turned hero. His discipline was always called into question, rather unfairly at times. But that was largely due to the personnel around him and the fact that he was always played deeper than we now know he should have been. Carrying some (lets be real here) very poor Arsenal teams definitely played a part into shaping the player and his defensive duties.

Then came that infamous match where it all blew up for him. We aren’t going into that again, it’s been done to death. Fans, pundits and “experts” all said he had to go and there was no way back. And go, he very nearly did. But for a conversation with newly appointment manager Mikel Arteta, who convinced him to stay and be part of his journey. It’s a measure of Arteta that he was able to convince a man who was set on leaving and who some fans would’ve actively shown the door.

What happened after was nothing short of sensational. The arrival of Thomas Partey enabled Xhaka to move further forward. To Challenge himself to create more, score more, start more. And Granit rose to that challenge. In the last season he was utterly brilliant. The fans singing that they wanted him to stay on the last day of the season spoke volumes. It wasn’t serious, we all knew it was time but it was an appreciation of his resurrection.

We’re getting a good fee for him considering his age but there are big boots to fill. Every single manager he was under picked him in every single game. Every single player has spoken to his leadership and mentorship. That says it all.

Goodbye Granit. All the best.

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