In Brief

‘We will break your legs’: Arsenal skipper Granit Xhaka explains why he reacted to fans

Swiss midfielder admits he reached boiling point but now wants to move forward

Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka has spoken publicly for the first time following his angry confrontation with fans as he was subbed against Crystal Palace last Sunday. 

In a statement released on social media, the Swiss midfielder explained that he had “reached boiling point” as he walked off the Emirates pitch to a chorus of jeers.

Nonetheless Xhaka admitted that he had got “carried away” and reacted “disrespectfully” to fans. “That has not been my intention and I’m sorry if that’s what people thought,” he continued. 

Appalling abuse

The reaction among Arsenal supporters has been mainly positive to their captain’s statement, particularly in light of his description of some of the abuse he has received in recent weeks. 

“People have said things like, ‘We will break your legs’, ‘Kill your wife’ and ‘Wish that your daughter gets cancer’,” he explained. “That has stirred me up and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium on Sunday.”

Saying that he had been “deeply hurt” by the abuse, Xhaka ended on a positive note: “My wish is that we get back to a place of mutual respect, remembering why we fell in love with this game in the first place. Let’s move forward positively together.”

Xhaka to quit?

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror reports that Borussia Monchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl has ruled out re-signing Xhaka. 

Since the Swiss meltdown last weekend, rumours have been circulating that he could quit the Emirates but Eberl has said that if Xhaka does leave it won’t be to Monchengladbach.

“It’s difficult to get him back,” he said. “Not just financially, but also from the point of view of expectations. Players develop and change. In the end, you could end up doing more damage than you can win, so I’m not really a fan of return.”

Gunners eye up Isco

Arsenal are “embroiled” in a battle to sign Real Madrid playmaker Isco, claims the Daily Mail.

The paper is one of several to report that the Gunners are ready to slug it out with Manchester City for the hand of the 27-year-old. 

Apparently Real gaffer Zinedine Zidane is ready to “cash in” on Isco and the two Premier League clubs are both interested in signing the Spanish midfielder. 

Ozil off?

For Arsenal, says Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, it’s a case of searching for a replacement for Mesut Ozil. 

Despite a lively performance against Liverpool in Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup classic, the German is set to be offloaded in the new year and Arsenal manager Unai Emery has his sights set on Isco. 

Even though Isco has made only five appearances this season, he would still “command a fee of up to £60m”, but Emery is ready to meet that asking price, providing he can find a taker for Ozil. 

As for Man City, the Mail says that Pep Guardiola is “keen” to find a successor for David Silva, who is set to leave at the end of the season.

Wolves up next

After the Carabao Cup classic at Anfield, Arsenal return to Premier League action on Saturday when Wolverhampton Wanderers are the visitors to the Emirates Stadium (3pm kick-off). 

Premier League fixtures

Saturday 2 November (3pm unless stated)
  • AFC Bournemouth vs. Manchester United (12.30pm, live on BT Sport)   
  • Arsenal vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers  
  • Aston Villa vs. Liverpool  
  • Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Norwich City  
  • Manchester City vs. Southampton  
  • Sheffield United vs. Burnley  
  • West Ham United vs. Newcastle United  
  • Watford vs. Chelsea (5.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
Sunday 3 November
  • Crystal Palace vs. Leicester City (2pm, live on Sky Sports) 
  • Everton vs. Tottenham Hotspur (4.30pm, live on Sky Sports) 

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