It feels like every Arsenal story we write these days is about Granit Xhaka.
Whether it’s a reaction to his situation following the Crystal Palace game or transfer rumours as a result of it, the Switzerland international is grabbing all the headlines for the wrong reasons.
It’s no different in his home country, where Gelson Fernandes, once of Manchester City and Leicester City fame, was asked about it after he himself got sent off at the weekend for Eintracht Frankfurt against Stuttgart.
The 33-year-old was asked about his national teammate’s situation, whom he would have faced in 15 days in the Europa League had all this not arisen.
He told Le Matin: “The public is very frustrated over there at the moment. The team isn’t playing at the level it was 20 years ago. Also, Arsenal haven’t invested as much as other big clubs they are trying to rival. There are expectations, it’s normal. Fans go to the stadium, pay a chunk of our wages…
“But I don’t understand how you can boo your captain that way. I’m sorry for him. Granit is a guy with a good heart, a good teammate who gives a lot. Since he’s been there, they have reached the final of the Europa League. That’s not nothing”.
The player was then asked if he’d ever been on the end of such ire from fans in his career, which he hasn’t, apart from a few saying mean things on social media because his sending off made them lose a bet.
Back to the Arsenal man, he added: “I can’t imagine what Granit felt like with the insults towards his family. S***, I tell myself people have gone crazy. With all this social media, there are many people out of line.
“I think there’s a whole chunk of education that needs to be looked at again. We, as players, are on the frontline. People don’t quite understand the pressure that a player can have on him, especially in big clubs”.
He isn’t wrong, as the anonymity most social media platforms provide has allowed people to get away with behaviour they would never dare attempt in public, and despite it just being words on a screen to them, it can be a whole lot more for the person on the receiving end of it.
Unfortunately for Xhaka, it all became too much, and while some boos might have been solely aimed at that particular performance, and nothing more, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the Swiss midfielder, leading to the mess he finds himself in currently.