Arteta admits that he still needs to convince Xhaka to stay at Arsenal

There were many Arsenal fans and pundits that thought there was no way back for Granit Xhaka after his outburst at fans a while back, but he has gradually been integrated back into the side. According to his agent though, he has been secretly engineering a move to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga, with just the two clubs needing to agree a fee for the transfer to happen.

But the arrival of Mikel Arteta may have changed things, as the Spaniard is actively trying to persuade the Swiss international to stay at Arsenal. That doesn’t seem to be going so well though as Arteta admitted today that he is trying to get Xhaka’s team-mates to help convince him that he still has a future at the Emirates.

The Boss told today when asked about Xhaka: “I had a conversation with him and I wanted to understand his feelings. That’s first, and his reasoning why he was thinking it probably wasn’t the right place for him to continue his career.

“I gave him my opinion, my perspective, and I told him that I was ready to support him from the club perspective, and I wanted his team-mates to have his back to help him to change his mind. We need him. I believe that if we’re able to do that, the fans will respond in a positive way.

“I’ve seen him act every day, how he trains and how he lives his profession, as well as the quality of the player. I think he could be a really important player for the club.

“From my perspective, I don’t want him to leave.”

Arteta was then asked if he had persuaded Xhaka to change his mind, and he replied: “I hope. I don’t want him to. I said no to the club and I said no to him! After, in life, I cannot control what happens.”

So it is obviously not certain that Xhaka will stay after all, and I wonder if the fans would be happy to welcome him back into the fold. It seems the home crowd gave him a happy reception before last night’s game against Man United, but will it be enough to persuade him to stay?


  1. I believe that xhaka is not good enough or mobile enough for the prem. I think it is a mistake by Arteta and he will let him and the team down. If he could do it, i would get Rabiot over xhaka. The guy is not Arsenal material and people sticking up for him are not wanting this team to succeed because we wont while xhaka is in it.

    1. Evening Reggie, I haven’t posted for a while as the depression in watching our team has been another level and yes I haven’t been a gooner since pre 88 but there gave been some crappy times during that still. My opinion on xhaka is the sane as yours, not mobile enough for the premiership. However mikel seems to have a vision and a way he wants us to play (dare I say an Arsenal way, where we have more of the ball!). So I think xhaka will be utilised for the remainder of the season and reevaluated at the end. I will be interested to see how he performs but still think he will be moved on. The biggest plus for me in not only the utd game, but Chelsea before was the intensity. I hope the boys can keep it up and give us supporters something to be proud of. Best wishes Paul

      1. Great post PAUL. I am puzzled by what you mean by “you haven’t been a gooner since pre 88” though. Does that mean you stopped supporting us in 1988 though, because that is what your post actually says and I find that difficult to believe, frankly. In which case, why post right now, if you were not around for the glory decade of Wengers first ten years. And did you follow another team post ’88 and if so exactly who? Do tell us! I ASSUME YOUR POST MEANS THAT YOU DID NOT START SUPPORTING US TIL 1988 BUT THAT IS NOT ACTUALLY WHAT IT SAID!

        1. Apologies for my poor use of the English language. To clarify I started supporting Arsenal then, I was the mere age of 6 so no previous teams and my Father is a gooner as was my Grandfather. Hope that clears it up. Cheers

    2. I keep reading on here that “other” people are missing the point re this or that so this is my penny worth. People are missing the point whether we should get rid of Xhaka based on whether he is good enough a player. We should get rid of him because his behaviour in Crystal Palace situation was indefensible. Arsenal were always regarded as a club of dignity and class. There is no dignity or class in a player, indeed a captain, walking slowly off when we need a result (that was why the booing reached a crescendo), gesturing at fans, clearly swearing at them, discarding his shirt, barely acknowledging his manager or other players. Any club with any pride, with any regard for it’s own traditions and standards, should immediately sever connection with individuals who conduct themselves in that manner. Yes, including if it was Messi. Yes, including if it was Henry. Every football fan will subscribe to the mantra “No player is bigger than the club”. That is right. The nature of the response to this post will demonstrate the degree of class or dignity of our fans.

      1. I have seen worse in football,i have seen worse in humans,i have seen worse in many other disciplines so if Arteta says he’s giving everyone a clean slate to begin from and feels Xhaka can help his vision then fans should back up the coach’s decision

      2. TERRY, in principle I instinctively find myself in suppport of your post and of its fine principle. But every one deserves a second chance on behaviour matters is what I ALSO believe. I am puzzled that Arteta seems to rate Xhaka as a player, as extremely few on here do and I do not either. ON THE BEHAVIOUR MATTER ALONE AND LEAVING ASIDE, FOR THE MOMENT, HIS ONFIELD ABILITY,OR LACK OF IT, I would overlook it this time. He did not kill anyone and he was severely provoked and we are ALL human. Plus he had to deal wuth sinister on line theats against his wife and family, which are beyond the pale. Agreed? Circumstances mitigate any wrong action, at least to an extent and that is a fine and sensible principle, I suggest to you and to others.

        Life is rarely as black and white as your last sentence implies and I SPEAK AS A WORLDLY WISE MAN OF 68.

  2. The “fans” or “supporters” of our club are very quick to take a negative attitude towards a player without taking all the circumstances into consideration. I myself have written off Özil countless times, and David Luiz, etc. Time to sit back and do some introspection (that’s self-analysis) and ask ourselves ehether we are being fair.

    I know, I know, lots of people will say “yes, but …. is a professional and gets paid so should perform to the best of his ability all the time blah, blah blah”. To those, I say: Who is to blame if the player’s performance is compromised because 1: he is played out of position 2: the coach does not know how to impart his tactical ideas to the players in an understandable way 3: the coach does not create the environment around the team, individual players and training ground where every individual WANTS to perform at his best.

    I’m afraid I have to say it, but even AW would not have got out of the team what we saw last night. Just also remember, every human being is different and has different values, things that make them tick. You think you could treat Özil who is a sensitive personality, the same as a hardass like Martin Keown and get the best out of him? Think again.

    Well done, Mikel, we look forward to more of the same!

    1. Great post SAGooner and I agree 100% with the AW statement, at least for the final two years, anyway.

      Please see my reply to Reggie below, as I am on the same lines as yourself.

    2. @SAGooner
      Another one who hasn’t been watching many AFC matches. We have put on better displays under AW.

    3. SA Gooner what a fine, sensible and reasonable post with much foord for thought for many of us I suggest. Most top people managers understand very well that you cannot and must not treat all persons a in the same way, save to be honest and decent to all. But in man management, Arteta is clearly showing a degree of ability that we have not seen since the early years of AW. AW was ALWAYS good man manager but I thought he took his eye off the ball in some respects in his latter period. It is never an exact science and some players are almost unmanageable even by a genius; eG Pogba, Balotelli, to name the first two that come to mind. It is therefore vital to carry out proper character valuation BEFORE signing anyone . Just my take on it though!

  3. Reggie, playing devils advocate here…how do you explainout two previous managers (but of more relevance of course) and MA still rating him so highly?

    Could it be that MA’s new tactics have a role for the player, who had a reaaly good game against manure?

    If the rumours are correct, we could sell him tomorrow for £20,000,000 plus,so A would have that as an extra in his transfer pot.

    1. Cant explain that one Ken, can you? its a mystery because he is synonymous of what has been going wrong for Arsenal. Never rated him before or since he joined. All i know is he has been here 3 or more years and has been totally underwhelming. Maybe until he actually goes, he has to say nice things in case he doesn’t go, then he would be left red faced, if he had called him. Lol

      1. In all honesty no…unless what we saw against united, proves MA is a better coach than the previous two encumbents…something you just might agree with!!!

        Until we get a replacement though, I can’t see MA letting him go.

      2. Xhaka is not synonymous with what has been wrong with Arsenal, Play Xhaka in a system that works for him and he is very effective, keep the spaces tight and it does not matter if he isn’t as mobile. He is a good player ability wise, despite lacking other qualities. You Keep Xhaka and you buy better, he’s still better than Willock, Guendouzi and a more complete midfielder than Torreira, yes Torreira is exceptional at being a DM but that’s it. Take Kante for example, exceptional at a DM but as soon as you move him further forward, you see the limitations of him as a footballer – that’s no different to the majority of players, it’s up to the manager to place them best to make them effective. Xhaka has played very well and been one of the best players on the pitch in recent games and that’s not surprising given his skillset, we all know he isn’t as mobile across the ground but in compact spaces the way Arteta wants us to press – he’s effective at controlling and supporting that midfield.

        The issue with Arsenal is that they’ve either bought players that did not suit Wengers Philosophy and build on those principles or bought them too late. Wenger was also incredibly stubborn in that he wanted his DM to be more than just a destroyer – Le Coq was beautiful in breaking up play but as soon as he began to venture further forward, we noticed his limitations – again, not playing someone to their strengths. Song was probably the closest we came to a DM that could play the ball. Arsene never wanted an Out n Out DM and it cost him over the course of his career. Xhaka should had never been a DM and is clear in his own admission that he is not a DM, although he possesses some qualities there. Take Giroud for example, our playing style initially did not suit him and then we bought Ozil who doesn’t suit Giroud’s playing style, Giroud would be phenomenal in Liverpool because of his ability to hold the ball and lay it off for wide or running players – hence why him, Ramsey, Wilshire, Sanchez and others did so well with him. He was completely different from Van Persie (Ball over the top and volley).However because of his hold up play it’s why Giroud still gets in that French team.

        It’s not a mystery that 4 Managers have picked him, Wenger, Emery, Freddie and now Arteta, ex players and fans talking about respect? Where is their respect for being booed and slated on forums like this constantly? regardless of how much money I am paid, mental health is a real thing and just having a baby (We don’t know if there were complications or what) is tough mentally. Arteta said it the best in his press conference – Ozil cannot do it by himself, only 1 or 2 players in the world can do that in modern football, we need all our players to help bring the best out of Ozil and the same goes for any of our players.

        This argument can be true of Aubameyang – we all say his best quality is his speed but how many goals has he actually scored using pace? he rarely uses his speed to beat his marker. Aubameyangs asset is his ability to poach and his positioning. We don’t hit balls into channels for him to run onto through the middle, him playing out wide makes sense because he has room to use his speed and frees him from being man marked through the middle where he can then arrive for the tap ins, not press as hard and keep defenders at bay because of the fear that he will run past them.

        the list is endless but it’s clear as day that 4 managers play Xhaka and 3 managers play Auba on the wing, a newbie, a seasoned tactician and a youth coach, at all levels this has been a theme. It isn’t coincidence, it’s understanding football and knowing how players fit into systems, it’s why Henderson plays so well for liverpool but not so well for England or why Lampard and Gerrard never played quite so well in a midfield.

  4. Xhaka cannot currently command a fee above £20m and we paid £35m for him pre his peak age! Therefore keep him for now and maybe look in the summer to keep or sell. Rabiot has only played 5 games in total and a few he came on as sub so his fitness levels will be shocking too! Wouldn’t mind another midfielder but he needs to be able to become world class otherwise we have plenty of average midfielders already!

  5. The latest rumours I ready are that if Juve can bring in their preferred midfield option they would be open to selling Rabiot for around $25-30m.

    If we can sell Xhaka and directly replace him with Rabiot, that would be a great result for Arsenal.

    Then bring in Szoboszlai in the summer for $15-20m.

    A midfield 3 of Rabiot, Torreira, Szoboszlai would provide great stability and balance.

    1. Juve have agreed to sign midfielder Dejan Kulusevski from Atlanta for £35k so if they want to sell Rabiot, they will want to recoup their new investment of £35m. I reckon that’s too steep for us as he hasn’t played enough last 6 months when at PSG and first 6 months at Juve!
      I would offer £15m loan fee for both Can and Rabiot till rest of season and then see if one or both should be signed permanently (depends on Xhaka as well)! Can has 4 years EPL experience and can play the system Arteta demands! Rabiot is more risky out the 2 and not easy to handle!

    2. Not sure if I want Rabiot though. Has a massive ego, and we’ve had enough of those problems with the likes of Ozil.

    3. Why look abroad for a quality midfielder, how about Jack Grealish? In my opinion a perfect replacement for Aaron Ramsey and currently playing in the EPL. We still need a quality CB though.

  6. This could be Arteta’s first major mistake, and it will cost him dearly if he keeps Xhaka. We can argue all day long about systems, formation, positions, but there’s no getting away from the fact that he’s been awful under 3 different Arsenal managers so far. Not only that, I have seen some horrendous mistakes from him at International level as well.

    Arteta says he wanted him at City, but clearly those making the decisions didn’t rate him at all. Further more, it looks as if Xhaka is on the verge of moving to Hertha Berlin. Not Juventus, Real, Bayern, Dortmund, Barca, PSG, City, Liverpool, or any other top club. None of them rate him!

  7. Big no to Rabiot boy has attitude issue n he is not world class for us to deal with his mood swings. I won’t sell Xhaka in this window as it will be hard to replace him n we will loose out in money side as well. Sell him in summer n get a proper two footed skilled CM…how about that Uraguay dude who plays for Madrid. He looks a class act n he can form good partnership in midfield with his fellow countryman torreria but I doubt Real will sell him, apparently he is one of zizu’s favourite player for midfield role.

    1. Valverdi that is …man that boy is talented at 21 years if age his skills as CM is treat to watch. If we can snatch him from Madrid some how n sign Erikson as long term Ozil replacement as well. We are sorted.

  8. Rabiot is not the answer. We need a midfielder with a good passing range. Zhaka while lacking in certain qualities, can with the right set up and system move the ball forward quickly and accurately. Oh how we miss Santi….

  9. If Xhaka wants to go, then we should sell him. Didn’t Arteta want people FULLY invested in the club? If Xhaka’s heart is not in it then he needs to go.

    We need better than him in midfield, and we can put that money towards a replacement.

    Torreria is bossing it as a DM, Ceballos can be the link up with Ozil in our transition game. I’m eager to see how Arteta uses Ceballos in the midfield, and I think he will prove to be better than Xhaka.

  10. I think most of us giving our opinion here have been missing the point. How did we get here? What made Xhaka think he better leave this club? Oh, he is not Arsenal material, he is not good enough, represent what has been wrong with this club in the last millenium, blah, blah, blah.

    The issue is the unnecessary abuse and overeaction of fans over time took its toll. That Crystal Palace game and the boiling over of emotions from both sides made it hard, if not impossible, for there to be a way back.

    Xhaka had his ‘faults’. But didn’t Arsenal as a club have theirs? Were we perfect? Are we not in the midst of trying to right much of what has been wrong by appointing Arteta? So, why is the poor guy made a cheap target by us fans? Why did we find it convenient to throw him under the bus? As if once we get him sacrificed all will be well?

    Many here sound like they have a sense of entitlement to tell everybody (the board, the coach) what they should do to put things right in the club. Even Arteta has bs suddenly become the beautiful bride now that he has beaten Man U. But cast your mind back a few days ago and recount the dross that many spewed out about the man. He had as much chance as a snowball in hell, of succeeding going by what some said about him. He has no coaching experience. Never coached before, blah, blah. Now all that have gone quiet. A bit.

    To me, the Xhaka situation represents some of what has been wrong with our club in recent times. You can’t justify what some fans did (said) to the man. He is a good player or he is a bad one. It does not matter. Arsenal is not the only club in the world. If they don’t want him here, if they won’t treat him with the basic dignity and respect every human should have, he should go somewhere else and he has my full support as a human being. He shouldn’t be expected to go through that kind of stuff and come on the field and perform to his best. That is totally unfair.

    Arteta clearly understands what the issues are. From his take on the matter, he does. And he doesn’t buy into the narrative that the club is supreme and so the club should ride roughshod over a player’s dignity and respect. Good or bad, the man is a human being first. Plus he, Arteta thinks he is good enough. That says it all. All armchair coaches need to realise that and swallow hard on that.

    If Arteta thinks he can work with Xhaka and that he is good enough to be in the team, who are you to argue with him. His success or otherwise rises or falls on that decision and he should be allowed to make that choice. It goes with the responsibility as the man on the spot for now.

    There. My rant is over!

    1. Very well said. Xhakas situation summed up the toxic atmosphere that took hold of our great club. I am hoping that after Wednesdays performance that showed desire we can keep that going and everyone can push in the same direction. All we want as supporters is Arsenal to win and Wednesday showed what can happen with everyone on side and behind the team.

    2. @Gunnerphilic

      I agree with a lot of what you said, but it’s unfair to target the overall fan base because of a minority rouge element. The odd fan gets banned here, and there for racist behavior, but that doesn’t mean an entire fan base is racist. Similar with Xhaka. He has received a huge amount of criticism, and rightly so, given his attitude at times, and his performances. Only a tiny minority have abused him, and/or his family, which is obviously unacceptable, and should be condemned. But do not confuse criticism with abuse. It’s not fair to imply those who criticize Xhaka as abusers. It’s not fair to demonize those who wanted change, because it was badly needed. The minority does not represent the majority.

      A toxic atmosphere has been created because of the club’s inaction, consistently poor decision making, and oppression over the years in key areas. Charging us the highest prices in the world…for what? A terrible product! taking forever to get rid of Wenger. Constantly giving awful players new contracts, and big pay raises. Board members picking up their bonuses. Rip off shirt prices, and so on…

      The fans patience has been completely worn out, and it will take a while for the new regime to win back the trust of the fans. Fans can just about stomach a fall grace for prolonged periods, look how long Liverpool have been waiting for a league title, but it’s the way we have been treated, which has everyone so riled up. How the powers to be have been doing nothing (until recently) to turn our fortunes around.

      This is cause and effect. You oppress the fans, you get a toxic atmosphere.

      I also apologise for my long rant, but I am very passionate about defending the fans, and their right to criticize. It really angers me when people, especially those in the mainstream media, try and pin ANY of Arsenal’s regression on the fans.

    3. Thanks…..well stated… one deserves abuse for supposedly underperforming at his or her job…. especially his family being be abused too…..some Arsenal fans need to apologise to Xhaka……

    4. GUNNERPHILIC, NOT A “RANT” AT ALL BUT A REASONED AND WELL THOUGHT THROUGH POST. Rants are boring and foolish. Yours was nothing of the sort.

  11. I keep asking this question and never get a proper answer.
    How come that each and every manager we have had (Wenger, Emery, Ljungberg, Arteta) all seem to rate Xhaka? What is it that they see that most of us don’t seem to see? You would imagine that they would know much more about Xhaka personally as they are his coaches and managers.
    But it’s weird that we the fans don’t rate him while it seems like all the managers rate and trust him.

    Again, it reminds me of the Jordan Henderson scenario at Liverpool. Exactly like Xhaka, not rated by many but each and every manager that has been appointed at Liverpool in the last decade or so has trusted Henderson as their main CM.

    How come? It’s weird.

    Or may be that is why we are just armchair, keyboard warrior managers.

    I seriously don’t see that much intelligence in Xhaka’s play. He seems to be a slow thinker, turns like a tank, needs a few seconds on the ball to make a pass while we are used to quick thinking players that know where their next pass is going to end up a split second before they receive the ball.

    But hey, that is why I am not a manager.

    1. You need to consider the context in which each manager finds himself. Wenger bought him ahead of other midfielders at the time so quite clearly rated him.
      For the others, their situations have been very different. They have to consider him in relation to who else is available and also who can be realistically bought to replace him.
      Also, I don’t believe his situation is the same as Henderson’s.

      1. I don’t believe that about the Henderson situation.
        How many managers have managed Liverpool in that period that have ever dropped him or went out to find so called better CM’s than him.
        They all brought in players they believed would make a difference and Henderson’s place has never been threatened.
        They bought Emre Can to partner with Henderson. He was sold and then bought Keita to play alongside him. It was Llalana and Milner before that etc.
        Henderson is the linchpin of their midfield and everyone else has to play around him.
        But not many people rate or trus Henderson while each and every manager in recent times has made him their prefered choice. No one is stopping them from replacing him with so called better midfielders but they just seem to retain him.

        No one forced Wenger, Emery, Ljungberg, Arteta to start Xhaka but they all seem to trust him for some reason.
        The likes of Henderson / Xhaka are surely not that difficult to get rid of as compared to say Ozil due to the massive wages. So how come managers trust them to be their main CMs?

    2. You might be interested in Jurgen KLopp’s thoughts on Jordan Henderson in todays sports news feeds. Klopp does not, in general praise individual players but its obvious he rates him very highly as both a leader and a player.As Klopp is rated by many, as one of the best managers in the world,his opinion is certainly more valid than pundits and fans. Arteta’s has his opinion of Xhaka which should be respected.

    3. At the risk of sounding arrogant when I say that regular fans who watch all games are generally very clued up about who is and who is NOT good enough, I am with all othe GOONERS WHO DO NOT RATE Xhaka at all. MANAGERS HAVE A DIFFERENT AGENDA THOUGH AND SOMETIMES WE FANS FORGET THIS TRUTH. They have to work within a budget that in the case of AFC will never be enough to buy provenREPLACEMENT quality. That being so, they have to soldier on most of the time with the substandard likes of XHAKA, at least till they can replace him. He does have a following among the players and that is easily seen. I suggest we have no PRACTICAL alternative, right now , than to soldier on with him and TRY to mitigate as best Arteta can, his slowness, cumbersome play and general virtual uselessness. Sigh and Reality!

  12. the whole Xhaka question is certainly an interesting one…why does every manager seem to rate a man that clearly fails the eye test…one answer might be that his performances for his national team have given them the false sense about his supposed potential, both as a midfielder and leader; another might be that he seems to possess some rather unique skills in his left foot that could prove crucial when devising both set pieces and a more direct style of transitional football(without breaking the bank); further still, it could simply be that since players seem to gravitate towards him both on and off the pitch, he represents the kind of unifying force most managers desperately crave…one can’t underestimate just how important this sort of ally can be for a manager facing a divided or fractured clubhouse or when trying to implement a new philosophy; after all, this was why Wenger specifically brought in Per and Arteta

    I would suggest that there are more than one of these aforementioned factors at work, not the least of which is one of pure Kroenkian economics…Arteta knows our current injury quandary, which combined with our clubs general disdain for pursuing often more expensive January options and the fact that we appear to have much greater needs, losing Xhaka could be even more problematic than keeping him…I personally don’t believe he’s the answer to any of our questions, but I will say that the way in which Arteta was using him to create space for Kol on the wing and then having him take a more advanced position in the offensive zone at times, was both unique and quite effective against ManU…so maybe, just maybe, Arteta plans to finally use him properly, then simply evaluate him between now and the summer, instead of trying to find a band-aid solution halfway through the season…if it was me, I would make nice with Xhaka so we could retain his market value, unlike our past mistakes in this regards, until we are able to find a way to properly address our midfield…if along the way he becomes a stabilizing force while upping his game, like on Wednesday, then it’s just a bonus

    1. Well thought out post You could well be right about how Arteta sees things. I do nor see Xhaka being here in the longterm, simply because we Gooners have had three plus years of seeing how slow, cumbersome and limited he is , esp in thePrem’s 100mph game. Arteta is clearly thinking short term, as he has to with the appalling Kroekne owning us and starving us of funds.

  13. Just a little more than a day after a morale boosting win and out comes crawling the negative stuff.

  14. People getting on upemecano bandwagon should rewatch him. I find him too overated nothing zpecial, gets dribbled past so easily by very average players. For that price Arsenal are better off looking somewhere else thats the sad truth upemecano WONT improve us he’s otamendi level tbh

  15. Is it possible that getting a suitable alternative in January is not an easy fix and keeping Xhaka on side until the summer is a good plan? Having wholesale changes to what has been a lacklustre team could quite easily go wrong. Xhaka isn’t likely to be here long term but could keep the show on the road with the right input from Arteta. The same would apply to other players
    Obviously if the right man/men whoever he/they is/are can be bought then that’s brilliant but as so many of you have pointed out not many opportunities arise in January
    A real shame for Chambers

  16. Xhaka was voted club captain by the team players so he obviously has influence over the dressing room. I don’t get why the levels of abuse are targeted at him but I do get his performance has not be consistent or acceptable at times however there is clearly something about the player us fans don’t see as us fans never know the full story and very often the bigger picture. If Arteta wants him to stay that’s good enough for me, I’ll judge Arteta on that not blame xhaka. As for Rabiot, no thanks given his reputation as a disruptive influence

  17. Check the game against Chelsea, when we were worked up and compare with game against man united, then you’ll see xhaka importance, no player in arsenal has better game management skill than xhaka, I believe playing style under emery exposed his major weaknesses lack of pace, but regarding what he did he made a mistake, but for now who would replace him, and what’s the probability that rabiot if signed will be successful

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