Former Arsenal star Granit Xhaka has rejected claims that his wife played a part in the midfielder departing the Emirates this summer.

The 30-year-old‘s £21.5million transfer to join German side Bayer Leverkusen was confirmed earlier in the week.

Xhaka spent seven years in north London after arriving from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016, with the Switzerland international racking up 297 appearances.

He endured an up and down relationship with the Gunners faithful, but ultimately left on a positive note – four years after telling the fans to ‘f*** off’.

German news outlet Sport Bild suggested that Xhaka’s partner Leonita played a crucial role in the move back to Germany with their two daughters.

But the two-time FA Cup winner has strenuously denied the rumours, as he stressed he linked up with Xabi Alonso’s side due to their project.

He told Keystone-SDA: “There was speculation everywhere that my wife was no longer happy in England. That is not at all true.

“The fact is that as a person I am always interested in new challenges. After seven years, the time has come for something completely new.

“The league is not new, but the club is.

“During the talks with Simon Rolfes [sporting director] and Xabi Alonso, I felt that the long-term project at Leverkusen was worthwhile and that it was 100 per cent in line with me.”




Xhaka also lauded former boss Mikel Arteta, who he previously credited as saving his Arsenal career after he was axed as the club’s captain following his clash with the fans.

He remarked: “[He’s] a coach who understands an incredible amount of football.

“Someone who sees football with completely different eyes.

“I had a great relationship with him.

“Thanks in part to him, we achieved what was missing for years: the Champions League.”




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