Granit Xhaka is no longer an Arsenal player but there have been reports he left the club due to the influence of his wife, Leonita Lekaj.
Leonita Lekaj purportedly pulled a heavy influence asking her husband Xhaka to push through a move away from the London club this summer.
Sources close to Leonita claims she did not want to stay in London any longer for personal reasons and was eager to change her environment.
Leonita Lekaj joined Granit Xhaka to London in 2016 when the latter sealed a move to Arsenal from Borussia Monchengladbach for £30m.
The Kosovo-born model who was based in Germany met Granit Xhaka in 2015 while the latter plied his trade with Borussia Monchengladbach. She reportedly pushed for Xhaka’s exit from London to return to Germany where she could be close to her family and associates.
The purported Leonita Lekaj’s factor in Xhaka’s Arsenal exit carried much weight because the mother of two have been heavily involved in Granit Xhaka’s career since they met.
Coincidentally, Xhaka’s switch to Arsenal in 2016 was the year the pair got engaged. They got married in 2017. Since then, Leonita Lekaj has been through the thick and thin with Granit Xhaka and his storied career.
She has been spotted on multiple occasions on the stands cheering her husband and sometimes taking to the Emirates turf after games for a moment with the Swiss midfielder with their two kids.
Leonita Lekaj defended Xhaka’s usual erratic temper and frequent on-field clashes, saying they are a result of Xhaka’s deep passion and love for Arsenal. She further detailed how Granit Xhaka would be moody at home if Arsenal lost a match.
Granit Xhaka debunks rumours Leonita Lekaj influenced his Arsenal exit
While Lekaj has been a part of Xhaka’s big career at Arsenal, the Swiss midfielder has debunked reports she influenced his Arsenal exit. According to him his decision to leave the club was devoid of any family input.
“There was speculation everywhere that my wife was no longer happy in England. That is not at all true,” Xhaka told Keystone-SDA (via Sport Witness). “The fact is that as a person I am always interested in new challenges.”
In his final season with the Gunners, Granit Xhaka made 47 appearances for the club in all competitions, scoring 7 goals – his highest career tally in a single season.
Granit Xhaka had a year remaining in his Arsenal contract but it was understood the Swiss international could be forced to the bench next season as Mikel Arteta and Edu unveiled summer transfer plans with Kai Havertz and Declan Rice in the picture.
After the two top midfielders joined Mikel Arteta’s midfield options, it was pretty clear the likes of Xhaka and Thomas Partey will be out-of-favor next season.
With Bayer Leverkusen interested in Xhaka, Granit Xhaka knew the time was ripe for him to take up a new challenge and save his career.
Xhaka joined Bayer Leverkusen for £21.5m, leaving Arsenal after seven years. His move to the Bundesliga side will be his second spell in the German elite division after his previous spell with Borussia Monchengladbach.
Granit Xhaka will begin a new chapter in his career after joining the revamped Xabi Alonso-led squad on a four-year contract till 2027.