Mikel Arteta says he has asked Arsenal’s owners to reject any offers that come in for Granit Xhaka this month as the midfielder is an important part of the team.
Xhaka has been heavily linked with a move to Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin, but Arteta has no intention of letting the Switzerland international leave the Emirates.
Granit Xhaka to leave Arsenal this month? Five things to know…
- Xhaka was stripped of the club captaincy following an angry confrontation with a section of the Arsenal support earlier this season, which led to talk of a January exit.
- Clubs linked with Xhaka*: Hertha Berlin (1/4), AC Milan (12/1), Borussia Monchengladbach (16/1), Atletico Madrid (18/1), West Ham (18/1).
- Xhaka said he “reached boiling point” during the aforementioned incident and last week, his agent admitted the midfielder wants to leave north London for Hertha Berlin.
- Arteta handed Xhaka a start against Manchester United on Wednesday and he impressed; only Mesut Ozil (10) and Lucas Torreira (9) made more ball recoveries than Xhaka (8) on the night.
- The Arsenal manager has now backed Xhaka to stay put, urging the club to resist any offers for the 27-year-old.
*Odds by William Hill: Granit Xhaka – To Sign For Before 1st February 2020. (18+ only; BeGambleAware.org)
Since taking over from caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg after the sacking of Unai Emery, Arteta has talked up Xhaka’s credentials, emphasising his significance to Arsenal’s style.
The Spaniard started Xhaka against Manchester United and the former captain, who was stripped of the armband earlier this season, helped Arsenal control the game on the way to a 2-0 victory.
After the match, Arteta reiterated his stance on Xhaka’s future and called on the Arsenal board to resist any offers for a player he rates highly.
“I had a conversation with him and I wanted to understand his feelings first, the reason why he was thinking here probably wasn’t the right place to continue his career,” Arteta said.
“I gave him my opinion, my perspective, and I told him that I was ready to support him from the club perspective.
“I wanted his team-mates to get his back and help him to change his mind because we need him. I believe that if we were able to do that the fans would respond in a positive way.
“I’ve seen him act every day, how he trains, how he lives his profession and the quality of the player. He could be a really important player for the club.
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“From my perspective, I don’t want him to leave.”
The Arsenal boss added: “I don’t want him [to leave]. I said to the club no [reject offers] and I said to him no.
“[But] In life I cannot control what happens.”
Last week, Xhaka’s agent claimed the player had an agreement with Hertha Berlin and wanted to leave Arsenal, but Arteta’s faith in the midfielder may see the situation change.