The midfielder is closing in on a move to Bayer Leverkusen (Pictures: Getty / YouTube)
Granit Xhaka has teased the possibility of his Arsenal exit being confirmed next week and has shut down suggestions his wife is behind a looming return to Germany.
The midfielder has been heavily linked with a £15million move to Bayer Leverkusen this summer and Sunday’s 5-0 win over Wolves appeared for all intents and purposes to be a farewell appearance for the 30-year-old.
Xhaka netted twice in the first half and looked emotional when he was withdrawn in the 75th minute, receiving a standing ovation from supporters.
Although manager Mikel Arteta has repeatedly refused to confirm whether Xhaka is leaving, most fans seemed resigned to his looming departure and held up signs and banners thanking him for his service to the club.
After full-time, Arsenal’s players did a lap of appreciation and Xhaka notably hung back behind the rest of the squad with his family, appearing to savour the Emirates atmosphere one last time.
When he left the stadium later in his car, Xhaka was mobbed one last time by fans looking for autographs and was asked about his future.
While he stopped short of outright confirming his departure, he suggested an announcement was imminent and hit back at claims his wife – who is from Germany – was behind the move to Leverkusen.
Former skipper Xhaka was giving a rousing reception (Picture: Getty)
Asked by AFTV contributor Pippa Monique on her YouTube channel if he is really going, Xhaka replied: ‘You will see next week what happens.’
When his wife was mentioned as a possible reason for his move back to Germany, Xhaka twice said: ‘It’s not about the missus.’
Recent reports in German newspaper Sport Bild claimed Xhaka’s wife, Leonita Lekaj, was pushing for a return to her homeland, with the pair having actually met when the midfielder was playing for Borussia Monchengladbach.
Arteta, meanwhile, was full of praise for Xhaka and when asked about the reception he received from fans, he said: ‘Well deserved, he’s had an incredible season.
‘I think one year back I spoke to him and I told him, “Question mark on you, you have to deliver more, you have to be better, I’m going to challenge you to play here”.
‘And I think he went back and started to train the next day, and he came to pre-season 4kg less, fit, with this [determined] face and really willing to do it.
‘He’s been exceptional, he’s been a key part of the team and the team’s success and I am so happy that everybody is appreciating what he has done.’
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
‘It’s not about the missus!’