Granit Xhaka is back in training with the Arsenal squad following his Covid-19 absence in Switzerland, though he is still suspended.
Andreas Boni and Chris Wheatley reported on Monday that Granit Xhaka was finally able to leave his Covid-19 isolation in Basel and return to London. This update has since been confirmed by footage of the player in training with Arsenal.
The club posted a training video on their Instagram page on Wednesday morning, and Xhaka was clearly part of the group.
This is obviously not going to be followed by a return to the pitch this weekend, as Xhaka is still suspended. His red card against Manchester City will see him miss both the league game against Burnley and the League Cup game against AFC Wimbledon.
Xhaka’s return does give Mikel Arteta a decision to make for the North London derby, however. Whether or not the midfielder immediately returns to the side is sure to be a key talking point ahead of the derby.
Regardless of the decision Arteta makes, you’d imagine at least some of the Arsenal fans will be up in arms about it. Xhaka continues to divide supporters, and his red card and Covid-19 infection will only add to that.
Ahead of Switzerland’s game against Greece over the international break, Xhaka had to pull out of the squad after testing positive for Covid-19. The Swiss FA head of communications Adrian Arnold then confirmed the midfielder hadn’t been vaccinated.
“Granit Xhaka was not vaccinated,” Arnold confirmed. “He’s a player who isn’t vaccinated. We left this up to each player, it’s a personal decision of each player – just like any other person in Switzerland.
“We have issued a recommendation that everyone vaccinate. But he decided for himself personally. And it is also his right not to be vaccinated.”
Arteta has since spoken to the media and suggested he believes it’s better if the players do get vaccinated.
“Obviously, it will limit certain aspects if they don’t [get vaccinated], because we don’t want to expose ourselves in certain things,” said Arteta.
“For example, travelling. If they are not vaccinated and they travel or socialise in certain situations, obviously the risk increases a lot. We don’t want that exposure with any of our players. Because, at the end, the team and the club will pay the price.”