Granit Xhaka’s agent played a ‘clever poker game’ this summer to convince Arsenal to give him a new contract.
That’s according to Andreas Böni, Deputy Editor-in-Chief Sport of the Blick Group, who has covered how the Switzerland star came to extend his deal at the Emirates.
Xhaka was heavily linked with a move away from Arsenal this summer, with Roma keen to sign him after Jose Mourinho made him a priority signing.
It appeared a move would happen, with reports over several weeks indicating that it was likely, particularly when the midfielder agreed on terms with the Italian side.
However, the two clubs could not agree on a transfer fee and in a shock move, Arsenal elected to hand Xhaka a new one-year deal to extend his contract until 2024.
The logic behind the move has been questioned by many, but Böni says it was a case of his agent using the situation to his advantage.
“You have to put yourself in his shoes,” he told Blick.
“He’s 29, has two years left on his contract at Arsenal, then Roma comes along, gives him a five-year contract, and Jose Mourinho tells him all day long what a great guy he is.
“That you want to stay at Arsenal at all costs is unlikely, if first something like that. Then came his adviser and used that cleverly.
“Xhaka’s adviser, Jose Nogueira, clearly laid the situation out. Arsenal came to study it because Granit has a very high standing in the club, although he had a lot of drama with the fans.
“The result: Granit signed for four years, much better paid than before; a clever move.”