Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has revealed that he is a huge fan of midfielder Granit Xhaka, handing the previously outcast midfielder an olive branch at the Emirates Stadium.
The Switzerland international had been tipped to return to the Bundesliga in January following the public breakdown in his relationship with the club. After being stripped of the captaincy as a result of his clash with fans, some had speculated that there was no way back for Xhaka under former boss Unai Emery.
However, with Arteta coming in to replace Emery, Xhaka appears to have been given a fresh start. The new boss told reporters (via The Mirror) that he has long admired Xhaka and believes he has moved on from his issues.
“That 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 was growing and growing and growing and one day it exploded.
“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.”
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After joining the club, one of Arteta's first jobs was to meet with some of his unsettled stars to try and help them all bounce back from a difficult start to the campaign, and the boss confessed that Xhaka was one of those with whom he spoke.
“I spoke to him and told him how much I like him and what I expect from him. How important he is for the team," he said.
“I am here to help him, I want him to feel we are right behind him. Not just myself but the whole club.
“I want to give the players confidence, reassurance and guidance. Slowly, hopefully we’ll get to where I want."
Source : 90min