Granit Xhaka has told Mikel Arteta has wants to stay at Arsenal – leaving his manager delighted.
The midfielder was involved in an angry exchange with his own club’s supporters two months ago, telling the crowd to ‘f**k off’ after he was booed as he left the field in a game against Crystal Palace.
He was subsequently stripped of the captaincy and his agent recently revealed that Xhaka was looking to leave the Emirates in January, with Hertha Berlin keen to sign him.
But the 27-year-old is now back in favour following Unai Emery’s sacking and Arteta’s appointment and was outstanding in the 2-0 win over Manchester United on New Year’s Day.
Speaking after the victory – his first as Arsenal manager – Arteta said he now expects Xhaka to remain at the club and be a key part of his team.
“I think he will stay,” Arteta said. “He was very good. I really like him.
“The way we want to play, if we get him on board he can be a tremendous player for the football club.
“It is everything – his commitment, I like the way he is, the way he lives, his professional(ism), and the way he trains.
“How focused he is every time I am talking, he is listening and willing to learn and he is a great football player.
“The way we want to play, there are not as many with his quality on the ball and the way he eliminates passes, and the range of his pass. I am delighted to have him.”
Asked if Xhaka had told him he would not move away during this January transfer window, Arteta replied: “He did, yes.”
Arsenal’s victory on home turf was their first since October 24 and was achieved in front of a jubilant crowd, who were behind the team from the start.
Record signing Nicolas Pepe fired the Gunners ahead after eight minutes at the Emirates and Sokratis Papastathopoulos added a second before half-time as the Gunners produced a dominant display against their old rivals.
On his players, Arteta said: “I said to them without you guys I won’t be able to do it. You have to open the door and believe I can bring something different to the club.
“We need all the staff to believe as well and if we do that day by day, it will take a long way and the process will not be easy and there will be ups and downs, but they bought into this.
“That is my feeling, they want to do it and they are starting to enjoy. Hopefully it is a start.”
Arteta is set to meet technical director Edu and Raul Sanllehi, head of football, today to discuss plans for this month.
The future of young forward Eddie Nketiah will be among the topics of discussion after his loan spell with Leeds United was cut short.