Unai Emery has backed Granit Xhaka to “come back better” after his clash with Arsenal fans, but has failed to clarify his long-term future at the club.
The Switzerland international’s substitution was met with ironic cheers from Arsenal supporters during a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last month, but those cheers soon turned to jeers when Xhaka gestured in return.
Could Xhaka leave Arsenal? Five things to know…
- Xhaka hasn’t played for Arsenal since clashing with fans against Crystal Palace last month.
- But he represented Swizterland twice during the international break, scoring in his last match against Gibraltar.
- The incident against Palace has thrown his position at the club into doubt.
- Newcastle and AC Milan are now being linked with his signature.
- Emery says Xhaka will return to action soon but didn’t clarify his long-term future at Arsenal.
The midfielder hasn’t featured for the club since, has been stripped of his captaincy role and released a statement after the event outlining the abuse he and his family have suffered from fans on social media.
Naturally, Xhaka’s long-term future at the club has been cast into doubt and the likes of Newcastle United and AC Milan are now being linked with the 27-year-old.
And while Emery has backed Xhaka to return to his side soon, the Spaniard stopped short of confirming whether his future at the Emirates was short-term or long-term.
“He’s coming back better. His mindset is better and this morning I have a very good conversation with him,” Emery told reporters.
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“My objective is for him to come back helping us and convincing everyone that he is going to be better in the short or long future with us.
“He’s feeling better and his team is Arsenal now. He wants to come back with the confidence of the supporters.
“We are going to decide tomorrow (if he plays) but I want to give him confidence and comfort.”
Arsenal have won just one of their last seven games across all competitions and currently lie eight points off the Premier League’s top four.
The Gunners host a struggling Southampton at the Emirates on Saturday.