Xhaka drops hint over Arsenal future in recent interview

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Granit Xhaka has admitted that he would be ‘incredibly proud’ to be appointed Arsenal captain should Unai Emery decide to entrust him with the armband next season.

The 26-year-old was named captain on a few occasions by Emery last season and could be handed the role on a permanent basis should Laurent Koscielny leave this summer.

Emery reportedly had a five-player leadership committee last season, but Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech have both left, while there is speculation over Koscielny and Mesut Ozil’s futures.

Xhaka is the other member of the committee and although he too has been touted as a target for Inter Milan, he reiterated that he has a long-term contract at Arsenal which runs until 2023.

Speaking ahead of Switzerland’s Nations League clash against Portugal, Xhaka told Blick:

‘Hoping for me is not the right word. Would I be incredibly proud & like to lead the team as captain? Absolutely, but I try, even without the armband, to be a leader & take responsibility.

‘I’m a leader in a top-five team in the strongest league in the world. We ended the season only two points behind third, we were in the final of the Europa League & were a win away from being in the Champions League. I see ourselves a club in a very healthy position.

‘I still have a long-term contract here. I am currently feeling very good, both professionally & personally.’

Xhaka joined Arsenal in a £35m deal from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016 and throughout his three seasons in north London, the Swiss international has divided opinion amongst the club’s supporters.

Although he has drawn praise for his ability to dictate the tempo of matches from midfield, Xhaka has also faced criticism over his defensive lapses which have often cost his side.

Despite that, Xhaka has been a consistent starter for both Arsene Wenger and Emery making 134 appearances for the club in all competitions and scoring 11 goals.