GRANIT XHAKA almost joined Stoke City on loan before eventually landing a lucrative gig at Arsenal.
Max Eberl, director of sport at Xhaka’s former club Borussia Monchengladbach, claims the Swiss midfielder was close to a Potters loan move after a disastrous start to life at the German club.
Xhaka, 27, struggled to adapt to the pace and power of the Bundesliga during his first 18 months at Gladbach.
And he was ready to call it quits in the 2014 winter window after agreeing to join Stoke on loan.
However, Eberl claims he talked Xhaka out of linking up with Mark Hughes, warning the midfielder that he would never secure a move to a big club should he go to the bet365 Stadium.
Xhaka decided to stay in Germany and enjoyed a much more productive two-and-a-half years, eventually securing a £35million switch to Arsenal in the summer of 2016.
And Eberl believes rejecting Stoke City was the best career move Xhaka ever made.
Eberl told the Rheinische Post: “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’.”
Xhaka is embarking on his fourth season at Arsenal, and has scored 11 times in 159 appearances.
He won the FA Cup in 2017 under Arsene Wenger, while finishing as a runner-up in last season’s Europa League against Chelsea.
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