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Mikel Arteta says he wants ‘committed’ Granit Xhaka to stay at Arsenal


Mikel Arteta wants Granit Xhaka to stay at Arsenal. The midfielder missed the 2-1 home defeat by Chelsea owing to illness but European clubs are reportedly still monitoring his situation with a view to a January transfer.

Hertha Berlin are said to be pushing hard to sign the 27-year-old but, when asked about Xhaka leaving, Arteta replied: “I hope not. He played at Bournemouth, he played really well, he was very committed, he played a really good game. After the game he started to feel ill. He had a temperature and he wasn’t feeling good. The last two days he was in bed. That’s why he wasn’t selected [against Chelsea].”

Xhaka was stripped of the captaincy in October after reacting angrily to being booed by Arsenal fans when he was substituted in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

Arsenal threw away a commanding position in Sunday’s dismal defeat by Chelsea after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s early goal saw them lead until the last 10 minutes.

Bernd Leno’s goalkeeping calamity then handed Jorginho the chance to tap into an unguarded net to equalise before Tammy Abraham fired in Chelsea’s winner. Leno raced out and flapped at a cross from a free-kick, leaving Jorginho free to score a simple equaliser.

That let Chelsea steal the win and deny Arteta a winning home debut at the Arsenal helm, leaving the manager to admit he must rally behind his goalkeeper.

“He will be down. When an error costs the team points, it’s harder,” Arteta said. “We have to lift him. He’s done a really good job since he joined this club and we have to respect that. We just need to bring the confidence back and that’s it.”

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