Mikel Arteta has revealed how talks with Granit Xhaka allowed him to convince the midfielder to reconsider his future and remain at Arsenal.
The Switzerland international looked set to leave the club during the January transfer window following a controversial opening to the season, Xhaka clashing with home supporters who booed him during a draw with Crystal Palace in October and being stripped of the captaincy under former boss Unai Emery.
The 27-year-old’s difficult relationship with the Arsenal faithful saw him widely expected to depart, reports emerging from the player’s agent that Hertha Berlin had agreed terms over a deal for Xhaka to take the former Borussia Monchengladbach star back to the Bundesliga.
However, since Arteta’s appointment as the club’s new manager last month, the Spaniard has held talks with Xhaka regarding his long-term future and convinced the midfielder to remain at the Emirates.
Xhaka has impressed during the Gunners’ recent up-turn in form under Arteta’s management, and the Arsenal boss says he was keen to show support to a player who he believes can play an important role in the coming seasons.
“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.”