Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has revealed that Mikel Arteta played a key role in his decision to stay at the club.
The Switzerland international has had a mixed time at Arsenal since his move from the Bundesliga in 2016.
Last season Xhaka was booed off by his own fans during a game against Crystal Palace and the midfielder reacted angrily to the hostile reaction from the Arsenal fans.
As a result of that, Unai Emery stripped him of the armband and left him out of the first-team picture for some time.
Xhaka has now revealed that his heart was gone from Arsenal due to the incident but Mikel Arteta supported him emotionally and showed his faith in the midfielder after taking over as the club’s manager.
“I was completely surprised by this. I am a person, I have emotions, things hurt me too,” he told Swiss publication NZZ am Sonntag.
“The disparaging gesture in the direction of the fans that I made back then might not be done today.
“I didn’t go to training for two days, wondering what happened in the first place. My heart was already gone from the club.
“The fact that I’m still there today is thanks to coach Mikel Arteta.
“He first wanted me to explain how I feel and why I had acted this way… I was able to describe my motives to him and let out what was on my mind.”
The Swiss international has been impressive so far this season and it will be interesting to see if he can make a big difference for the Gunners this year.
The fans will certainly be delighted to see that Mikel Arteta is helping his key players through difficult situations and it remains to be seen whether the Spaniard is willing to give Mesut Ozil another chance at Arsenal in the coming months.
The German midfielder has been left out of Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League spot but the Londoners are crying out for a creative midfielder like him and Arteta should look to bring him back into the first-team fold.