While Arsenal fans scour the media for news of exactly who is going to be recruited by boss Unai Emery, it seems there is more news about players who are on their way out rather than coming in. The latest of those is Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka, who is being linked with a switch from the Emirates to Italian giants Inter Milan.
But the veracity of this report can be called into question when you take into consideration the interview the player gave before his national side lost to Portugal last night when he said he’d like to skipper the Gunners.
Speaking before the Nations League 3-1 semi-final defeat, in which Cristiano Ronaldo hit a superb hat-trick, Xhaka said:
“Would I be incredibly proud and like to lead the team as captain? Absolutely, but I try, even without the armband, to be a leader & take responsibility. I’m a leader in a top-five team in the strongest league in the world. We ended the season just two points behind third, we were in the final of the Europa League and were a win away from being in the Champions League. I see ourselves as a club in a very healthy position. I still have a long-term contract here. I am currently feeling very good, both professionally and personally.”
One player definitely leaving, however, is keeper Petr Cech, who at the ripe old age of 37 is retiring from playing. And as he bowed out, the ex-Czech Republic custodian had a word of advice for young players trying forge ahead in the modern game.
He told the club’s official website that players can have as much talent as they want, and you can have so many opportunities from people around you, but if you don’t work hard and you are not prepared to take them, your career can take a completely wrong direction or never kick off.
“I will say everything goes down to work and love for the game. You also need to keep challenging yourself and that you can learn at any age. People sometimes say, ‘He is too old to learn’. No, it is not true.
“If you keep challenging yourself and you keep trying to get better, this is how you actually improve yourself and get better. I can tell you that at 37 years of age, at the end of my career I’m still learning and still improving every day because I actually work every day to get better.
“I think this is the only way to have a successful career and actually make the most of it. As best as you can be, this is actually the best advantage and the best way to have a great career.”