What Xhaka does detail is the chain of events afterwards which almost led him to him leave for Hertha Berlin in January of last year and how Arteta, who replaced Unai Emery just before Christmas 2019, talked him out of it.
“I took a big knock, I was quite wounded by the experience,” Xhaka says. “Hertha made contact, I discussed it with Arsenal and there were only a few details to complete for me to make that move. However, then Mikel arrived and we spoke. He wanted to hear my side of the story.
“I have to say it was the first time I had met him; I had no prior knowledge of him as a man or a coach. But we had a really great one-to-one chat – very open, very positive, very long. He looked deep into me, into my thinking, and he persuaded me that we should go on together, stick with each other on this Arsenal project. I am happy that I made the decision.”