Mikel Arteta claims Arsenal never actually wanted to let Granit Xhaka leave the club this summer, despite the strong links to AS Roma.

Granit Xhaka celebrates with Emile Smith Rowe after he scores to make it 1-1 during the Pre Season Friendly match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture credit should read: Paul Terry / Sportimage
Granit Xhaka celebrates with Emile Smith Rowe after he scores to make it 1-1 during the Pre Season Friendly match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture: Paul Terry / Sportimage

Early in the summer, AS Roma were heavily linked with a move for Granit Xhaka, making at least one or two bids for the midfielder. But they were way off Arsenal’s valuation of the player.

After months of waiting for AS Roma to up their meagre bids for Xhaka, the news broke that Arsenal were preparing to offer him a new deal instead. Then Xhaka was starting and wearing the captain’s armband on the opening day of the Premier League season.

Mikel Arteta claims Arsenal never actually wanted to sell Xhaka, and they convinced him he has an important part to play for his current side.

“We never wanted to let him go,” Arteta said. “We explained to him the role he would have in the team, how important he was and how far he has come in the last two seasons.

“And the fact that he has come through some difficult moments and how he has reacted and achieved and the respect he has gained, not only on the field, but around the club and in that dressing room.

“We believe that he was a really important figure and we need players like that for the development of the young players we have.”

Reports suggest Xhaka was happy to stay at Arsenal, even if he was aware of the Roma interest and clearly willing to go there if the two clubs reached an agreement. But it didn’t pan out that way.

Andreas Boni of BLICK recently reported that Xhaka has actually now signed his new contract with Arsenal to 2025. Fabrizio Romano previously reported that Arsenal were confident to have Granit Xhaka tied down soon. As things stand, we still haven’t had an announcement.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.