Granit Xhaka interviewed by police over racial abuse claim
Police were called to an incident at Heathrow airport a day after Arsenal midfielder was sent off against Burnley
Police interviewed arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka on Monday after he was accused of racially abusing a member of staff at Heathrow Airport.
The 24-year-old Swiss player, who joined Arsenal in the summer, was cautioned and taken to a west London police station for questioning after the incident, reports Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph.
Xhaka was at the airport to see off a friend, German sixth division footballer and his future brother-in-law Leonard Lekaj. But they arrived late for the flight and Lekaj was unable to board the plane. The Telegraph says a "stunned witness" heard Xhaka refer to one member of staff as a "'f****** white b****" in German. Airport security was called.
The row came a day after Xhaka was sent off against Burnley and capped "a remarkable sequence of ill-discipline for the Premier League title chasers, with Xhaka already preparing to serve a long suspension and manager Arsene Wenger facing the threat of a touchline or stadium ban for pushing a fourth official," says Law of the Telegraph.
Arsenal have refused to comment, insisting that the incident is a private matter that is now in the hands of the police, "but it comes at a time when Xhaka is under scrutiny for his lack of discipline on the pitch", notes The Guardian.
The midfielder has been sent off twice for the Gunners this season and was also dismissed while playing for Switzerland in September. His red card on Sunday led to a rare public rebuke from his manager and will result in a four-match ban.
Xhaka cost more than £30m when Arsenal signed him in the summer but he has not settled into the team as many had hoped and has spent much of the campaign on the bench. He "will now be hauled in for more showdown talks with boss Arsene Wenger", reports The Sun, which says the Gunners manager will "demand answers" over the airport row.
It's understood Xhaka disputed the witness's account of the incident and has denied saying anything directly to the member of staff.