Once upon a time, Granit Xhaka was Arsenal captain until he threw a massive strop, told the fans to f**k off, and we all thought his time was up at the club, but he has done what few others would have managed in this situation and turned it all around.
One of the most telling things about Granit Xhaka and this current Arsenal squad is how badly he was missed after he was injured against City, ruling him out of the Brighton game.
Another is how much better Arsenal looked having him back in the side against Southampton.
That is, of course, not a massive endorsement, but it does speak to his importance in the squad at present – and why so many managers see him as captain material.
So far in his career, the 27-year-old has captained Basel, Borussia Monchengladbach, Arsenal and the Swiss national team – every team he has played for. Let’s not also forget that his mum used to trust him with the house keys when he was a kid.
Even though he is no longer Arsenal captain, it seems unlikely he will leave as expected. Especially not when Mikel Arteta is singing his praises as a ‘natural leader’.
“Yeah, he’s a natural leader,” said Mikel Arteta ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup game on Sunday against Sheffield United.
“He’s someone who is always 1,000 per cent committed, not just for himself but to help all his teammates all the time. I’m happy that you can hear him more now! [shouting on the pitch without crowd noise].
“Hopefully I have 24 captains who are willing to take leadership wherever they like,” replied Arteta.
“There is not only one way to be a captain, you can be a captain in many different ways. Be yourself, express yourself, play with the passion and set an example to your teammates. That is, for me, a leader.”