After receiving a bizarre yellow card last season, one of Arsenal's players is reportedly being investigated for an alleged involvement with the mafia.
According to Sportsmail, the National Crimes Agency (NCA) is leading a probe into an alleged criminal conspiracy involving the Albanian mafia and a former professional footballer.
The investigation started when Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka received a booking during the Gunners' 4-1 win over Leeds United at Elland Road in December 2021.
Initially, it was the English FA that triggered the investigation when they were alerted by suspicious betting patterns that appeared towards the end of the north Londoners' win in Yorkshire, with £52 000 (R1 million) being put on Xhaka to be booked in the last 10 minutes of the game.
The Switzerland international was booked for time-wasting when he delayed taking a free kick deep in his own half while Mikel Arteta's men were comfortably in the lead, and there were other instances of him appearing to waste time earlier in the match.
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The bet placed on the former Arsenal captain may be a droplet in an ocean-sized conspiracy due to the unusually large amounts of trading on the betting app Betfair at the time of the incident.
The NCA is said to suspect that Alban Jusufi, a Swedish-Albanian striker who was given a five-year ban for match-fixing by the Swedish courts five years ago, placed the bet on Xhaka.
In 2017, Jusufi was found guilty, alongside former Manchester City midfielder Dickson Etuhu, of bribing AIK Gothenburg goalkeeper Kyriakos Stamatopoulos with £150 000 (R3 million) to underperform in a massive derby that was upcoming at the time.
Xhaka is of Albanian descent, with his brother, Taulant, having been capped 31 times for the country.