Xhaka sends message to Arsenal board ahead of Bayer Leverkusen transfer

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reviews the Nottingham Forest game

Arsenal star Granit Xhaka has told the Gunners’ hierarchy that they must take a step forward this season. The North Londoners’ slipped up in their hunt for a shock Premier League title, with Saturday’s latest defeat by Nottingham Forest handing the league to Manchester City. 

Mikel Arteta is likely to be backed with funds to strengthen his squad in the summer. Arsenal are keen to mount a stronger challenge next term, having seen their form fatally drop off in the final months of the campaign. 

Xhaka, who has been linked with a summer exit, has told those in charge at the club that they cannot dwell on a successful season and must continue moving forwards. He has urged his colleagues to be ‘ready for anything’.

The Switzerland international said: “We’ve played a great season – but we have to keep going. We must take another forward step because it’s going to be much more difficult next season.

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“We know that. The board and the coach will decide what’s going to happen but we need to be ready for anything.”

Arsenal choked in the final months of the campaign, dropping points in four of their last eight Premier League matches. That ultimately saw them give up an eight-point lead in the top-flight to City, who have clinched the trophy with two games to spare. 

However, Xhaka has told Arsenal’s critics not to forget the rest of the season, when the Gunners appeared to be storming towards a surprise triumph. The 30-year-old admits there are regrets over the way the season has ended, though, and believes Arsenal ‘deserved’ to finish runners-up. 

Xhaka continued: “People shouldn’t forget how we have worked for 11 months. Even though we have lost the last two, you can’t forget the 11 months that we’ve worked.

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“If someone had told us before the season that we would be here, I think everyone would have taken that. Our goal, for sure, was to be back in the top four. Now, we are second.

“Of course, when you’re so close to the title, you want to win it. But we are where we are, we deserve to be where we are and let’s see what happens.”

There remains uncertainty over Xhaka’s future. Reports suggest that Bayer Leverkusen have agreed a £13million fee to sign the midfielder ahead of the 2023-24 campaign. 

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