Granit Xhaka ‘handed leadership role in Mikel Arteta’s new-look Arsenal side’ two years after being axed as captain by Unai Emery… with Gabriel Jesus ‘also nominated to support Martin Odegaard this season’
- Granit Xhaka will serve as a squad leader for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side
- The 29-year-old was briefly club captain under former boss Unai Emery
- Xhaka was stripped of the position after an incident at Crystal Palace in 2019
- New-signing Gabriel Jesus will also serve in a leadership role at the Emirates
Granit Xhaka has reportedly been given a leadership role within Mikel Arteta’s squad as Arsenal look to continue their unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign.
Xhaka and Jesus will be part of the core leadership group alongside captain Martin Odegaard and will also be called upon to take the armband if the former Real Madrid midfielder is absent.
Mikel Arteta has handed Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Jesus leadership roles in his squad
The 29-year-old scored and got an assist in Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Leicester on Saturday
The news is significant for Xhaka as it comes after he was stripped of the captaincy following an incident at Crystal Palace that nearly brought an end to his career in north London.
The Swiss midfielder had been chosen by then-boss Unai Emery to take over from departing stalwart Laurent Koscielny as the club’s captain but his ill-fated stint with the armband would last just one month.
After being substituted by Emery with the Gunners drawing 2-2 with Crystal Palace at the Emirates, Xhaka was booed by supporters as he left the pitch. In response, the Switzerland international swore at the home fans before walking straight down the tunnel.
Xhaka’s future at Arsenal was in question after he was stripped of the club’s captaincy in 2019
Emery would immediately strip Xhaka of the captaincy following the incident and went on to the midfielder out of the squad for the next three Premier League games, leaving his future at the club in doubt.
However, after Arteta took the reins at Arsenal following Emery’s sacking, he persuaded Xhaka to stay amid transfer speculation, and the 29-year-old has remained a key fixture at the club ever since.
Xhaka was even entrusted with the armband after Odegaard was substituted in Arsenal’s Premier League opening day win at Palace.
Arteta has hailed new-signing Jesus for his workrate both on the pitch and in training
Jesus has made an instant impact since joining the Gunners earlier this summer, netting a brace as Arsenal defeated Leicester 4-2 on Saturday.
Speaking about his new signing following the victory, Arteta praised the former Manchester City striker: ‘We know what Gabi can do.
‘He is disappointed in the dressing room because he said he could have scored four. That is the standard, that is the mentality you need. I would not like to play against him. So mobile, so intuitive, always sharp. He lifts the standards, the way he is training every day.’
Xhaka’s growing prominence within the Arsenal dressing room is evident in the Amazon All or Nothing documentary. He sees himself as a role model despite his poor disciplinary record – he has been sent off five times in his career at the club.