Arsenal boss Unai Emery has played down talk of Granit Xhaka leaving the club for Newcastle United in the new year, insisting that the Swiss international still has a future at the club.
Xhaka has been linked with a move to Tyneside in recent weeks following a bust-up with supporters that resulted in the player being stripped of the captaincy at the Emirates.
Recent reports even suggested that the Gunners may favour Xhaka returning to his old club Borussia Monchengladbach, with highly-rated Swiss star Denis Zakaria possibly moving the other way.
However, Emery has come out in support of his player ahead of Arsenal’s home game with Southampton on Saturday, suggesting he’s unlikely to loan out the 27-year-old:
“He will have a long future with us – that is my objective – and I am going to work for that.”
“His mindset is better to help us and to be closer to playing when we need him. I spoke to him this morning and we had a very good conversation.
“My objective hasn’t changed. I want him to come back, with him helping us and also convincing every supporter of his commitment to us and his performances are going to be better and we are going to be proud of him in an Arsenal shirt.
‘He’s feeling his team is Arsenal now and he wants to regain the confidence of our supporters,”
“Little by little, we can help him to come back and connect again with us and our supporters.
“We are going to decide tomorrow [if he’ll play] but I want to do that comeback giving him confidence, making him comfortable, and [at a time] when we can connect with our supporters in a good moment, a good performance and also being strong with them.”
Despite these comments, the thought of Xhaka joining Newcastle on loan can still not be ruled out completely, with a lot depending on how Arsenal fans take to him (and him to them!) ahead of his potential return to the side.
Emery is a man under pressure too, so after the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino this week, it wouldn’t be too wild to suggest more underwhelming results could see the Spaniard lose his job.
One to watch, but it looks unlikely if Emery’s latest comments are anything to go by.