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Bayer Leverkusen sign Xhaka from Arsenal

Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka has joined Bayer Leverkusen from Arsenal on a five-year deal, the German club announced on Thursday.

Xhaka, 30, signed for Arsenal in 2016 and had a year remaining on his contract but was expected to leave with the Gunners pursuing a move for England international Declan Rice.

“In Granit we have been able to bring in an absolute top player,” said Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes in a club statement.

Xhaka returns to the Bundesliga in a reported 25-million-euro ($27.2m) switch after a seven-year stint with Arsenal that saw him win the FA Cup twice but also be stripped of the club captaincy.

He scored 23 goals in 297 appearances for the Gunners, including twice on the final day of the season in a 5-0 home win over Wolves as Arsenal finished second in the Premier League.

His fond farewell from Arsenal supporters was evidence of Xhaka’s remarkable turnaround after he infamously swore at the crowd during a 2019 match with Crystal Palace.

“We are saying goodbye to a fantastic player and person loved by all of us,” said Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

“It has been an incredible journey together for him and he has given absolutely everything for this club.”

Xhaka, who began his career with hometown club Basel, played in the Bundesliga with Borussia Moenchengladbach from 2012 to 2016. 

“I know the league inside out and I watched it when I was in London,” said Xhaka.

“Bayer 04 is a club with an impressive history and ambitious targets.”

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