Arteta: “[Xhaka] thought about it, he had a very positive response afterwards, and I think he changed his mind.”
By Tommaso Fiore
Last Updated: 09/01/20 11:39pm
Mikel Arteta says he has convinced Granit Xhaka to change his mind about his future at Arsenal, with the midfielder now poised to stay at the club.
Xhaka looked set to be on his way out of the Emirates after his outburst at fans who booed him off the pitch during their clash against Crystal Palace in October, in an incident which cost him his captaincy.
The midfielder’s agent even claimed that he agreed terms with Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin in December, but the Arsenal head coach has revealed that the pair held positive talks about the Swiss international’s future.
“The first message for him was that I wanted to understand how he was feeling, why he was feeling that way,” Arteta said.
“I wanted him to hear from me my opinion on him, and that I was ready to support him and that I was ready to push the club to be supportive of him too, because I thought he could be a really, really good player for us and he could enjoy playing under me in this football club.
“I tried to convince him that way. He thought about it, he had a very positive response afterwards, and I think he changed his mind.”
The incident in October sparked a controversial few months for Xhaka, who wrote a letter to Arsenal fans explaining how he and his family had been targeted on social media, which had seen him reach a “boiling point” on the Emirates pitch.
But according to Arteta, it is almost impossible to avoid such incidents and it is not unusual to see animosity and divides between players and fans.
“It’s very common now,” said Arteta. “Every club has its own issues. Some things come within the club, some within the media, some from social media.
“It’s very difficult nowadays to have one full year where everything is perfect. It’s the environment, we have to deal with that and hopefully in a few months nobody remembers those issues.
“Of course it’s not ideal when players respond and it creates an instability. So as much as we can avoid it, the better.”
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Source : Sky Sports