Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said that he wanted to sign Granit Xhaka when he joined Manchester City’s coaching staff.
The Swiss international hasn’t had the best of seasons so far with the fans often criticising his performances during the first few months. Things went from bad to worse when the Arsenal supporters booed Xhaka when he was subbed off in a match against the Crystal Palace and the 27-year-old didn’t hesitate to respond. Following that incident, he was stripped off the club’s captaincy and missed their next few matches.
However, Xhaka is now back to being a starter and has done fairly well in recent matches so far even though Arsenal haven’t attained the desired results.
Arteta said that he was an admirer of the player and wanted to sign him when he was Manchester City’s assistant manager. As quoted by Goal.com, the Arsenal manager said: “As a player, when I was going from Arsenal to City to start coaching and we were looking in that position, he was one of the players on my list. This is how much I liked him.
“I was happy when Arsenal signed him because I thought he was going to be a terrific player. He has done some really good things and now he has got stuck in a very difficult situation that, I think, was growing and growing and growing and one day it exploded. But I have been amazed as well by how this relationship is starting to come back a little bit and I think the fans have been very, very positive about him as well. Obviously it is difficult to change completely the scenario from where he was to a magnificent one. But I think we are in the right direction with him.”
Xhaka has been linked to an exit from Arsenal with RMC Sport claiming a couple of days back that Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin are interested in signing him and negotiations are underway. However, Arteta might still provide the Swiss international with some first-team opportunities.
The Spaniard’s first game in-charge of the Gunners is against Bournemouth at Dean Court today.