Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has admitted that he has ambitions to return to former club Basel later in his career, despite having established himself as a key figure at the Emirates under Unai Emery.
Xhaka came through the youth ranks with Basel before going on to make his senior debut with them in 2010. The 26-year-old moved to the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach two years later.
The Swiss midfielder then arrived in north London as a big money signing in 2016, but he has admitted that he harbours hopes of returning to the club where his senior career began one day.
Asked about a potential return, Xhaka told Swiss publication Basellandschaftliche Zeitung: “Definitely! My career started here and there it is a goal, actually, my dream to return someday.
“That certainly won’t be the case at 28, I’ll be honest. It’ll probably be more like Alex Frei, who’s the best example of how to do it.
“He came back once he was in his thirties, but still performed and helped FCB win a few titles. Of course, the expectations are high when you come back again, but it is clearly a dream.”
Xhaka has been an integral part of Unai Emery’s revolution at Arsenal this term, having featured in every Premier League match for the Gunners since the Spaniard’s appointment as head coach in the summer.
The Swiss star signed a new contract during the close season, despite making a patchy start to life at the Emirates - with lapses of concentration and ill discipline a major bone of contention for Arsenal supporters.
He now appears far more settled in the Arsenal engine room alongside Lucas Torreira, and seems set for a continued role of importance as one of five ‘captains’ in Emery’s squad this season.