Granit Xhaka admits he held talks with Hertha Berlin ahead of the January transfer window, but Mikel Arteta convinced him to stay.
Back in December, media rumours suggested Granit Xhaka was in talks over a transfer to Hertha Berlin. The midfielder was out of favour at Arsenal and appeared to want to move on for a fresh start.
A few months later, Xhaka was on the back of a run of eight league games without missing a single minute of action for the Gunners. However, speaking to SportBild, the 27-year-old confirms he did hold talks with Hertha. Arteta simply convinced him not to move.
“Yes, there were talks with Hertha, that’s well known, but for me, it was settled,” Xhaka said (via Sport Witness and Die Rheinpfalz). “After the change of coach I had some very good talks with our new coach Mikel Arteta.
“He convinced me of his ideas and his philosophy for the number six position and showed me a lot of appreciation.
“I’m glad that I could pay him back for this trust and I hope for the future that we can still make it into the Champions League and finally play in the international top league again. I came to England to win titles – and that is still my goal.”
This is nothing we haven’t heard before, in rumours and quotes from others. It’s good to get some confirmation of the situation from Xhaka, though.
The fact he’s openly willing to admit he held talks about leaving – but changed his mind – comes across as more genuine than if he just denied them. Ironically, admitting he talked about leaving makes it more believable that he now wants to stay.
Also, the quotes confirm the impact Mikel Arteta had on the situation.
The head coach had a tough task turning things around with Xhaka in his first weeks in management. Thankfully, he came through it well, which should prepare him for similar situations in future.