Unai Emery has confirmed that Granit Xhaka is in contention to make a return to the Arsenal first team in this weekend’s game against Southampton.
The Swiss international hasn’t featured for Arsenal since the controversial scenes that saw Xhaka tell the Gunners Faithful to ‘f*ck off’ after they cheered the decision to substitute him during the Premier League game against Crystal Palace last month.
The unsavoury scenes resulted in Xhaka being stripped of the captain’s armband, with Unai Emery subsequently suggesting he could have played his last game for the club, rumours suggesting he would be shipped out in the January transfer window.
However, speaking at his pre-match press conference on Thursday, the under-fire Spanish boss said that the former skipper is in contention to play in Saturday’s game against relegation-threatened Southampton.
Granit Xhaka gets booed off by Arsenal fans, tells them to boo louder, tells them to f*ck off and throws his shirt on the floor 😳
— GiveMeSport Football (@GMS__Football) October 28, 2019
“We will decide on Friday,” said Emery.
“He is coming back better in his mind, his mindset is better to help us and to be closer to playing when we need him.”
Despite the ‘hurtful and frustrating’ reaction from his own supporters, Xhaka has maintained that he is committed to the club, and Emery added that he is hoping to change the opinions among the clubs fanbase.
“I spoke to him this morning and we had a very good conversation. He trained very well before the international break and he trained very well this morning.
“My objective is going to be his comeback to help us and convince every supporter of his commitment with us and his performances will be better and they will be proud of him in the short or long future with us.”
Arsenal go into this weekend’s game against the Saints in sixth in the Premier League, eight points behind fourth-placed Man City, a run of results which has seen Unai Emery’s position as head coach come under scrutiny.