Arteta: "[Xhaka] thought about it, he had a very positive response afterwards, and I think he changed his mind"
Friday 10 January 2020 11:46, UK
Mikel Arteta says he has convinced Granit Xhaka to change his mind about his future at Arsenal, with the midfielder now poised to stay at the club.
Xhaka looked set to be on his way out of the Emirates after his outburst at fans who booed him off the pitch during their clash against Crystal Palace in October, in an incident which cost him his captaincy.
The midfielder's agent even claimed he agreed terms with Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin in December, but the Arsenal head coach has revealed that the pair held positive talks about the Swiss international's future.
"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."
The incident in October sparked a controversial few months for Xhaka, who wrote a letter to Arsenal fans explaining how he and his family had been targeted on social media, which had seen him reach a "boiling point" on the Emirates pitch.
But according to Arteta, it is almost impossible to avoid such incidents and it is not unusual to see animosity and divides between players and fans.
"It's very common now," said Arteta. "Every club has its own issues. Some things come within the club, some within the media, some from social media.
"It's very difficult nowadays to have one full year where everything is perfect. It's the environment, we have to deal with that and hopefully in a few months nobody remembers those issues.
"Of course it's not ideal when players respond and it creates an instability. So as much as we can avoid it, the better."
Mikel Arteta is hopeful Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will sign a contract extension at Arsenal but says no talks are currently ongoing with the Gabon international.
The 30-year-old striker has 18 months left on his current deal and newspaper reports from Spain have claimed Real Madrid will make a player-plus-cash offer for Aubameyang worth up to £70m.
However, Aubameyang rubbished those reports in Arsenal's matchday programme prior to their 1-0 win over Leeds United in the FA Cup on Monday night, insisting he loves playing for the Gunners.
"I was very pleased to read those comments," Arteta said. "He knows exactly what I think about him and obviously he is a massive player for us.
"But at the moment we are in the middle of the season and we have not discussed anything further on that."
Sky Sports' Nick Wright...
Many of the questions hanging over Mikel Arteta when he took over as Arsenal's head coach last month centred on his inexperience.
Would a managerial novice be able to command a dressing room containing players and former team-mates not much younger than him? Would he be able to stamp his authority on the side in a way Unai Emery could not?
Arteta has been in the job for under three weeks. He is still only four games in. But he has already gone a long way to answering those questions.
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