• Coach praises midfielder for turning his Arsenal career around
  • Xhaka set to make his 297th and final appearance on Sunday

Mikel Arteta has paid tribute to the “crucial” influence of Granit Xhaka on his Arsenal side before what is expected to be the midfielder’s final game for the club. Xhaka is likely to join Bayer Leverkusen early in the summer transfer window and his rehabilitation from outcast to mainstay has been a major success of Arteta’s tenure.

It is well documented that, when Arteta took over in December 2019, Xhaka was on the verge of leaving after a high-profile falling-out with the Emirates support that meant he was dropped and stripped of the captaincy by Unai Emery. The turnaround has been remarkable and the Switzerland international has played with particular freedom this season, often operating in a more advanced role for the Premier League runners-up. Arteta hailed his value to the team and said Arsenal had learned from the controversy of three and a half years ago.

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