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Granit Xhaka revealed that he was close to leaving Arsenal when he clashed with home fans during their 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace. Xhaka swore at the home fans after he was booed off after being substituted halfway through the game. He has become an integral part of the squad since joining in 2016 but has not been a fan favorite. The Swiss midfielder hopes that his relationship with the fans can change soon.

“My bags were packed. The passports were out. I was done with Arsenal. Finished. There was a contract on the table from another club, and all I had to do was a sign,” Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka said. “I had barely begun to move when I heard the boos. And it was not just a few guys in the corner – it was a lot of people. I was shocked. I had never experienced anything like this. When I got close to the tunnel, I looked up at the fans sitting there – and this is the part that I will always remember. When I close my eyes now, I can still see their faces. I can see their anger. It’s not that they don’t like me. No, it’s different. This is hate. Pure hate. I am really not exaggerating this.”

“To feel that level of hatred and disrespect, I wouldn’t want it for my worst enemy. Still to this day, if we have lost, I hate walking those last meters to the tunnel, because I still recognize the faces. The same people are sitting there,” he added. “So now, I just keep my head down. I lived through that nightmare once. I don’t ever want to do it again. Today I know I made the right decision, absolutely, because I’m still here.”

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