Borussia Monchengladbach’s chief Max Eberl has revealed that Arsenal star Granit Xhaka came close to joining the EPL rivals Stoke City – a full two seasons before he moved to the Emirates Stadium.
Former Potters head coach Mark Hughes endured a nightmare run in the transfer market towards the back end of his Stoke City tenure, with a host of high profile signings flopping upon their arrival at the club.
But that could have panned out differently had Granit made the move to Stoke City in 2014, after what had been a poor beginning to his Bundesliga career at Borussia Monchengladbach.
It’s now been revealed by Max, in an interview with the German outlet Rheinische Post that the Swiss midfielder came close to being shipped out on loan, with a January deal agreed for him to join Stoke City. However, the plug was pulled on the transfer, after words of advice that he offered to Granit.
“Granit’s career in the first 18 months at Gladbach did not run [as smoothly] as sliced bread. He was almost ready to be loaned to Stoke and I told him, ‘If you go to Stoke now, you’ll never end up at a big club – but you could’.”
The Swiss midfielder, of course, heeded the warning and back in 2016, he secured a £35 million move to Arsenal. Xhaka has had a host of critics during his time at the club, most notably for his disappointing disciplinary record.
He has remained an important player under Unai Emery, though, and has thus far made 135 matches for the club, despite being connected with moves away.