Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Arteta: I’ve told Xhaka how much I like him

Mikel Arteta says he’s been a long-standing fan of Granit Xhaka and believes the Swiss midfielder is an important part of Arsenal’s team.

The 27-year-old has been heavily linked with a January move to Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin but it appears our new head coach is doing his best to persuade the club’s former captain that he still has a bright future at the Emirates.

Xhaka is under contract until 2023 but has been exploring his options ever since he’s public falling out with the Arsenal supporters who jeered him off the pitch during October’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

“I told him how much I like him and what I expect from him,” Arteta said of this week’s meeting with Xhaka.

“How important he is for the team. I am here to help him, I want him to feel that we are right behind him. Not just myself but the whole club. If we can get the people in the right way as well, the fans with him, I think it will be helpful for the team, which is where it matters.”

Xhaka joined Arsenal not long after Arteta hung up his boots. The Spaniard has now revealed that when he subsequently moved to the Etihad to become part of Pep Guardiola’s coaching team, the then Borussia Moenchengladbach player was very much on his radar as a potential City recruit.

“When I was going from Arsenal to City to start coaching and we were looking in that position, he was one of the players on my list,” Arteta said.

“This is how much I liked him. I was happy when Arsenal signed him because I thought he was going to be a terrific player.

“He has done some really good things and now he has got stuck in a very difficult situation that, I think, was growing and growing and growing and one day it exploded. But I have been amazed as well by how this relationship is starting to come back a little bit and I think the fans have been very, very positive about him.

“Obviously it is difficult to change completely the scenario from where he was to a magnificent one. But I think we are in the right direction with him.”

Arteta also confirmed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will continue to wear the captain’s armband for the time being.

Perhaps aware that making yet another change in mid-season might cause unnecessary headlines in the papers and friction within the squad, the boss said: “I don’t want to change everything drastically in two days. I want to put my feelings slowly, I want to see what is going around, and in the right moment I will make the decisions for the benefit of the team and the club.

“At the moment I don’t think it is the right time, with the amount of games coming up and the amount of things that have to be done, to change too many things.”

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Sounds like Xhaka will be reinstated as captain next season.


More like him leaving the club next season.


The only problem I have with Xhaka is that he’s a holding Medfielder/deep lying playmaker who can only play make. He can’t breakup play or tackle or defend or win headers yet he’s too slow in his turning not agile enough for that position and HIS DECISION MAKING in defense is SHOCKING. also he’s too slow in his movement. He is VERY I’LL DECIPLINED he picks up too many yellows and gives away too many fouls in dangerous areas. It’s too many to just overlook. Kante is very fast for a defensive midfielder with great technical qualities. I think in… Read more »


Xhaka is really good at winning headers. One of his strengths. What are you talking about? You should take the season off from commenting and learn the game, watch some matches, and come back next year.

Victor Lim

I think something in him that we fans don’t know. If not why Emery and Ljungberg still used him despite the fall out.

Cultured determination

And wenger and his formercclub and the national team coach. But then again every week millions of us watch the game and are baffled. I remember watching one game we played without him some time ago and i notice the length of passing was short and we couldnt get the ball forward enough. Maybe that’s why. But then again, we need to replace that quality with another more physical player


Xhaka is top-5 in the league in line-breaking passes this season, so he definitely moves us forward pretty well.


probably because they don’t follow the popular fan’s opinion on who to scapegoat.

Reality check

“I think something in him that we fans don’t know. If not why Emery and Ljungberg still used him despite the fall out.”

It’s the grown up no non-sense attitude, the on-point personality – you have it or you don’t.. Emery exposed him by playing him at the base, not surprised that Xhaka has had his best games with Torriera by his side. A bit more positional awareness will definitely bring some improvement.. you can setup teams to nullify a player’s weakness in game but you can’t do anything about weakness in character..


This is just how Xhaka used to perform at his best with Switzerland, with Behrami running around breaking up play. Not sure who he plays with now but this is what he needs


Victor Lim, I wish I could like your comment over and over again


There isnt anything in Xhaka he cannot tackle header or hold the ball up !! The struggles to move the ball fast cannot run !! Personally the guy is an awful player ! I cannot see one reason why he is still at the club !! It has to come down to his contract why he starts so many games because on evidence of ability or form in games there is no way he should start !! he cannot be our last line of defence before the defence itself !!


Wenger, Emery and the Swiss manager don’t quite see him the way you do as he was and is chosen for most games. You somehow have forgotten he has one of the best passing ranges of any player in the country as Opta Stats have always shown and if he was as bad as you make him out to be than he would have left this club many years ago. Arguably the most unfairly maligned player I can remember and I have been a supporter for a very long time

Billy Bob

Opta stats got us mustafi and other such “quality”!!! No thanks!!!


I think you are right… we are stuck with Xhaka, to me Arteta’s praise is too gushing to be protecting xhaka transfer value. It would be too insincere to sell him know, trust with other players would be lost. Let’s see but it doesn’t sound great.


P.s Merry Christmas all!


Mikel, thanks for the memories. But it’s time to go.


That’s fast. Arteta hasn’t even managed his first match.


I thought people might recognise the sarcasm if I make it very exaggerated.


Pragmatic thing to say really, case 1: he’s calmed, gets with the system, and improves well for us. Case 2: he leaves but with other clubs believing we want him, will drive his price up, rather than down if we’d said we don’t want him.

Lack of Perspective

I think Xhaka gets way too much stick.


Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with criticizing someone for their performance or mistakes they made on the pitch.
Being professional footballer they must be used to criticism.
But getting someone’s private life involved, is simply unacceptable.
Imagine someone at your work came over to you and told you he hopes your kid gets cancer or shit like that because you didn’t ‘hit the target’etc. Simply unacceptable, really embarrassing to our fan base.

Lack of Perspective

Criticism is fine. But the extent of blame is beyond delusional sometimes. To be honest, I would tell our fans to fuck right off arm band or not. I would have done worse than him, and probably played shitter too.


then you aint an Arsenal fan or supporter !! to say shit like that !! the guy is woeful simple as that !! cannot header tackle or even run or protect i mean hold the ball up for people that dont know their football !! He has to be the worst Midfielder in Arsenal history and defensive my ass ! sooner he is gone the better !! and Arteta is only trying to keep the price up because its this simple for idiots that dont know football !! where would he fit into the City side or bench or squad… Read more »


No one in the stadium did that, but he still told us in the stadium to fuck off. Stop conflating different issues.

Lack of Perspective

Our fanbase is really well known for being moderate. You are right.



@Meh, I was in block 72 at that Palace game & yeah I’m guessing no one said that to him on the stadium, but clearly social media has some sort of effect on players? Look at Chambers, had to put up a status with the mascot as other media outlets showed how our players ‘ignored’ him. As for Xhaka, the boo’s didn’t start until he threw the armband down… I think this was discussed enough, both sides were in the wrong, fans & the player, let’s leave it at that. From what I seen so far our midfield actually somehow… Read more »


Not the fastest guy on the pitch, prone to the odd off tackle, but passes well, takes responsibility, and brings some structure to the midfield?

Yeah, if anyone can tune Xhaka to his best, good money says it’s Arteta.


I hope you are right, but saying good money on Arteta tuning Xhaka to his best, is just blind optimism at this point.


How do you know this?

Martinellis belly

Its got nothing to do with our fanbase. Those people exist outside of mainsteam societal norms and they’re at every club and affect every celebrity.
Xhaka acting like social media trolls represent Arsenal fans was infuriating. No reasonable normal fans go near player’s families

Reality check

“there’s nothing wrong with criticizing someone for their performance or mistakes they made on the pitch.”

Yes but at the same time, always targeting one player while others have also been putting up a shit show. It’s text-book scapegoating and leads to people crossing lines that they eventually did with Xhaka.


Well said.


Yes that’s correct except Xhaka has the stats the back it up somewhat.

I got nothing against him. I just believe that Unai’s system brought out the worse in him. Exposed all his limitations. He isn’t mobile enough to cover Guendouzi’s flaws which are the lack of defensive awareness. So he has to do his own defending plus covering for Guendouzi.

Xhaka – Torreira looks so much more solid.


please shut up !! that was never proven just paper talk and Xhaka trying to get out of his childish actions !! He is woeful and has been since coming to the Arsenal !! easliy the worst midfielder i have ever seen !! and the worlds worst defensive mid !! cannot tackle header or even hold the ball up cannot move the ball fast or even pass forward just sideways !! he is shit !! Arteta just wants to get the most he can for the pile of shit !! that is why he is saying these things !! Think… Read more »

I'm 14 Again

@Carl He’d be right at home beside Fernandinho. Especially in UCL games with big teams that can hurt City. When They need a quick break and one pass transition


It’s not that he’s a terrible player or person, he’s just not right for our midfield. Constantly playing backwards or sideways leaving the defense exposed, preventing any effective transition into attack, getting frustrated, making mistakes, picking up yellows which inhibit what he can do… He’s just not right for the position he’s occupying in the squad. Having someone better suited to the position we need would make a massive improvement to our ability to perform effectively.

Olivije Žirod

Yep, fans just doesn’t like him which make them subjective. They are looking for his every move. Torreira missplaced loses the ball – they don’t even see it, Xhaka does – he gets crucified. A great example was against WHU when Torreira lost the ball just outside the box which results to a goal chance for them. No one even mentioned it. This happens constantly.


It’s probably because Torreira would make an effort to chase or retrieve and that’s what all fans want to see. Someone like Xhaka or Mustafi wouldn’t take it on themselves and look around trying to blame someone else for not receiving the misplaced pass.

That’s precisely what infuriates many.
Lack of talent but a genuine effort would always be tolerated but shit-loads of talent but a lack of effort would always be crucified. Look at Parlour or Flamini for example, not world beaters but loved by all.


I would be happy to entertain that claim if you had an example of Xhaka blaming someone else while not working to correct his own error.

Perhaps it actually happened, but I don’t ever recall seeing that from him.


it has to be someone. When we were frustrated with just finishing top 4 and the hopes of the title were erased, anger was directed at Chamakh ( who it has to be said unfairly lost his place to RVP but understandably) then Gervinho and Arshavin. When top 4 got out of reach more frustration and anger went Arsene’s way. With evidence that we weren’t any better under the new man, Mustafi started attracting it with his sliding. Xhaka? his speed or lack of and the fact most fans wanted a different captain despite him being vice captain ( and… Read more »

Urs Seiler

Agree. And it’s pointless. It doesn’t help the team, but harm it. Emery handled the whole situation totally wrong and clueless.


Dude. He WALKED off the field when he was substituted. And we was chasing goals. I can forgive him for being a bad player. Which he is by our supposed standards but at least he could have ran a bit faster?

Greg in Seattle.

Slagging him for not running off the pitch? That’s fucking rationalization for crap fan behavior. You are an idiot.


So, you are making your point against abuse by abusing the guy, who just expressed his opinion in a very civil manner! What a way to prove your point!


Thanks! For me, walking off the field when we are desperate for goals shows a lot. And that goes for everyone. Özil included.


to put it into perspective, Ozil always walks off whether we are leading or needing a goal. others jog off. If memory doesn’t fail me, I’ve only seen Coq and Rosicky sprint off because we were time bad. He did walk off which was wrong. before all that, there was the ironic cheer when his number came up. Maybe aimed at the boss and who knows, maybe people associated him with everything going wrong including the boss having him voted into the role he should have inherited by virtue of being the 1st vice captain (haha) in the first place.… Read more »


With half an hour to go. Please stop trying to excuse fans booing and scapegoating our own player, that behaviour sucks and needs to stop. Yes, Granit wasn’t right, but neither were the “fans” that turned on our own player. It’s history, the coach who caused the whole fuck up is gone, we need to move forward together. Granit played well against Everton, where Freddie positioned him better, we need him, Mikel will get the best out of him.


seriously in my eyes he doesnt get enough !! He is woeful !! cannot tackle header or even run !! The guy is a mistake waiting to happen every game !! and he makes then mistakes every single game !! Aginst Everton pundits said he was the best player on the park all i can say to that is !! He might of been but that doesnt say much for the over 21 players does it ! and for e he wasnt the best player on the park against Everton Nelson and martinelli and even smith rowe shone in what… Read more »

Ya gooner

No he doesn’t he plays well in about 10% of his games. You can’t teach someone agility and speed the only way he will be decent is if he improves his ball control and dribbling which hasn’t improved in the however many seasons he’s been with us. Hopefully arteta is keeping that transfer price high.

Yo mama

I just hope he proves it by coaching him right… I don’t think wenger or emery really got it right with Xhaka and it’s been a big problem for the team. That being said, he’s pretty trash at tackling most of the time, has some good days every now and again tho. Hopefully mikel gets it right

Lack of Perspective

Since Freddie, one of our better players.


Maybe this is the problem between Xhaka and the fans.

Why does he play better for Switzerland than for the club?

Because they don’t use him as a tackler. He’s a big guy so Arsene and Emery naturally assumed let’s make him defend. But he’s not a DM

I would like to see him get opportunity to play in his natural role with a proper tackler behind him. Like Ndidi. Torreira is meh ? for the fast paced Premier Leage


What position can he play? If he’s not deep lying tackler, is he mobile enough to be further forward or box to box


It’s the way they set up. Swiss defend deep, and will have 1 or 2 midfielder sitting deep just behind or beside him to free him. In some ways, he’s the best option they have, like how Alaba was pushed into midfield by his nation to be a playmaker. while he’s a good player, always feel he shouldn’t be our best option, yet we are not able to get someone else. He is definitely a good player to have in the squad, just not a straight starter every game. Definitely useful when team sits deep against us, which rarely happens… Read more »

Olivije Žirod

For me it is quite simple what we had to do with him (which Wenger already did it in 2017/18). Instead of Torreira, Xhaka should be the one counter pressing. That would lessen those situations when Xhaka is not good enough. The semi-final against Chelsea is a good example of it.


Look. A Xhaka on fire is a great player. He just need to keep the flame alight.


You bee watching gavin and Stacey this evening? 😉


Lol as long as his flame doesn’t make him crash and burn.

Ya gooner

It’s funny just because arteta has said this suddenly people think xhaka is good again. Opinions will go back to normal in 4 games time. Since he’s signed he’s made shit decisions and mistakes. Also remember any midfielder needs to know how to defend, part of what made santi so great was that he was not only a great attacker but he hustled and put pressure on in midfield. You Cant have any passengers in this league any more and us warning to this has jusy shown how far our standards have fallen. Why are no prem clubs in for… Read more »


OMG ! I can t believe how much atention this guy gets. Rubish . Slow , predictable, doesnt add anything and too much error prone.

Ya gooner

Thank you! Just because he hasn’t been playing people have forgotten he’s awful, the truth is the whole of our midfield is shit it’s the worst it’s been at least since wenger took over. It needs an overhaul.

Toure Motors

The Christmas cheer optimist in me says this is arteta protecting the value of a player that will be sold in January or next summer. Xhaka is not that bad a player but he is so one paced that he’ll never be able to run a midfield in the EPL.

Lack of Perspective

I think he is a more gifted player than Henderson. And look where he is now with Klopp at the helm. Henderson is definition of one paced.

Lack of Perspective

Whatever that actually means.


take it at face value, there’s no need to over-complicate things…put the differences aside when the team step on the pitch….this is the clean slate that our new manager urges and if anything Arteta deserves tbat chance


Clearly some of us fans might not really see what Xhaka does on the pitch or behind the scenes but for 4 managers now to play him, see him as captain material and to even praise him he must be doing something right, I remember some years back there was somewhat the same debate about Gilberto Silva.
As for now we should give him as much support and and appreciation as long as he wears the shirt and love him or hate him Xhaka never shuns responsibility and never ever hides on the pitch


Too many selective fans. Ignore mistakes by Torreira or GUendouzi, amplify those by Xhaka or Mustafi. Remember what they were saying about David Luiz when we signed him? They described him as anything other than the panic buy he is. And here we are, defense no better with or without Mustafi. Same with Granit. Toxic fanbase agitated him off the pitch because of some imaginary issues over-exaggerating his faults…and we were still poor (if not worse) in midfield after. So shift blame to Unai instead bc god forbid they criticise their favorites. They were the same fans who thought getting… Read more »

Cultured determination

No…. do nog compare xhaka to the invisible wall. Xhaka is just… invisible when the opposition is shooting or running through our midfield


we were winning things so the mood was better. The invisible wall even lost his place to Edu along the way. Not that he was a better wall but because he scored some goals from normal play ( the one at Celta Vigo was much needed and what a goal!). we were some attacking machine and Edu had that spell where they kept going in. When they dried up/he refused to sign, the invisible wall was back in the team.
The thing is, nobody was picked on for loss of form or errors in that era of winning and joy.

Reality check

“Xhaka never shuns responsibility and never ever hides on the pitch”

Definitely, always the first to stand up for his team mates. There’s a reason everyone stood up with him during Xhaka- gate and also voted him the captain.

Ya gooner

Excuse me? He never hides on the pitch? He NEVER shows for the ball (mostly when playing out from the back) jesus too much christmas wine for everyone it seems.

Reality check

Your prejudice makes your memory and sight selecetive..

Rebo Ehwan

Xhaka never had the right coach in Wenger and Emery. He is the stubborn type that needs to be put in shape. He needs the kind of remolding that Barcelona did on Suarez. If that could be done on Xhaka, he will be fantastic. I pray Arteta succeeds in remolding him.

Suarez was already one of the best players in the world before joining Barca.

Artetas assistant

I think you mean that he desperately lacks some of that La Masia indoctrination Mikel is best suited to gift him. Music to my ears


HAHA…all those people who want Xhaka sold…Arteta probably more appreciative of his qualities since he functioned in similar role.

As I said, the player some people want out likely to stay, those that they prefer to keep likely to leave.


Well fuck



Same people wanting Arteta will have knives out for him sooner than later.


Hey. We weren’t there when Mikel told Granit ‘how much I like him’.
Maybe Mikel’s thumb and forefinger were an inch apart? ?


Wish I could tell Xhaka how much I like him.

Cultured determination

I guess if there’s a coach in the world who can get anything out of xhaka it has to be arteta cos he played in a similar position and has a similar passing range.

Of course arteta was much better.

Artetas assistant

Arteta was La masiad, it’s scientific football. He’ll give that to Xhaka now who is a great gentleman and I’ll love to have him as my friend. Classic Swiss astute gentleman


I always knew Arteta will like Xhaka in his team. I think Xhaka kind of remind me of the way some of our fans use to criticize Arteta when he was still a player for us. And the Coach will feel he can help him become a better player


The main difference between Xhaka and Arteta is that Arteta was a lot more positionally discipline and maintained a high level of concentration. Xhaka has all the physical attributes to be a very good player, but I think he’s lacking in the mental side of things. He switches off too many times and then loses discipline.
Arteta was more intelligent as well.

Ya gooner

Let’s not kid ourselves arteta was a very intelligent player on the pitch and recycled possession well. He was also really good at positioning himself for the interception but he was a dodgey tackler. Xhaka just isn’t that intelligent sorry guys.

I will say though arteta played with better midfielders around him. The problem is our whole midfield.


For me this is consistent with Arteta saying every player starts with a clean slate and also is influenced by the fact that we need all the squad involved at a very busy period of games. As a midfielder Arteta may see ways Xhaka could improve and be more productive, perhaps with coaching or tactical changes. Certainly no point alienating the player further. I don’t see any of his comments in connection with club captaincy

Paul Roberts

Could it be true?? Professional football managers know more about their footballer’s quality than us lot?? Nah surely not? 🙂


Can Arteta appoint himself as the captain? After all he was the captain when he left. Lol.


Fuck me. I just don’t get it. What do they all see in him that we don’t?

Public Elneny

Every manager he’s ever played under has rated him highly and made him a fixture of their starting xi. Were they all mistaken? No, of course not. He’s clearly not without flaws – his rash tackles and defensive brain farts, his lack of athleticism, his struggles evading pressure when on the ball. But he brings plenty positive to the team too, especially when held in contrast against our other midfielders. His passing is accurate and often quite progressive. He visualises what he wants to do with the ball before the 1st touch meaning he distributes comparatively efficiently. He shows constantly… Read more »

Reality check



Maybe it was because he slowly walked off the field when we needed goals? for me, that shows he doesnt love Arsenal and therefore should be sold in an instant to whatever team he fancies more.

Artetas assistant

You shouldn’t use your perception often, it’s flawed and doesn’t take into account anything but your initial hypothesis.


Yeah, just continue the same way Emery did. Fantastic player. Especially as substituted when he tramps off the field when we are chasing goals. Put him up front. Im sure he will score a lot of goals. Its hard to know where in the teeam to put such a talented footballer. Sure to leave a gap whereever he doesnt play. Just hope barca wont come knocking.

Artetas assistant

No. A team is like a piece of machinery and every cog has a specialist position for it.


Yeah, but Xakha is so talented he could probably even be a goalkeeper. Leno can be glad that we need his services up front.


Careless whisper sound on background


I think Arteta praising Xhaka like this might boost Xhaka’s confidence. Who knows Xhaka can regain some of his form?

I think Arteta sees Xhaka quite similar with him with playing style (albeit with less precision and accuracy). Arteta was mostly playing as deep lying playmaker which is Xhaka supposed to be. That’s why Arteta liked him.


We are f***ed!!!!

Artetas assistant

No we’re not


I remember Arteta used to read the game brilliantly on the midfield. I think he can teach Xhaka or use him on the right position, where he can be useful for us. Otherwise no point to keep him. I hope things gonna work out this time.


If Xhaka was brought in to be our playmaker then unfortunately he doesn’t quite cut the mustard.Santi Cazorla on a different level and has never been replaced.Arsenal should go all out and get one of the best playmaker in Europe Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich.I know it’s a long shot but he is a younger version of Cazorla.

joey deacon

Would love to ‘replace’ Santi but he is unique.


Of course Joey.My point is Thiago moves the ball quickly, comfortable on either foot and can nick a goal now and then.Since santi left it’s all so slow and predictable.


Maybe this is what you say if you need Xhaka to stay till the summer. No contradiction in what Mik says here and getting a better player later.

Xhaka Kaka

Why’d you do that?


My only problem with Xhaka is he turns like a school bus and the useless dragging of opponent with his arm foul he commits regularly especially in less dangerous situations….. Irks me

Ya gooner

He’s just not that good a player but he’s the best we have in that position which in itself is a fucking travesty.


this will be interesting first game in charge…hmm.


This is clearly to build morale as everyone knows Xhaka is toilet !! He cannot tackle or header and struggles to pass forward !! His speed of pass is that of a snail and he gets caught in possession all the time !! and loses the ball everytime !! What is the point in having a holding mid that cannot tackle or header is beyond me !! He is so slow and personally i think he is the weakness in the team !! He cannot protect and defence let alone a daisy in the grass !! the sooner he fks… Read more »


Milkshake duck


I really liked Xhaka when we signed him, I really hope Arteta can help him become a better player. He’s always in the first XI of every team/coach he’s played for so there really must be something in him, they’ve not just helped him.


I’m pretty sure if we had Gundogan instead of Xhaka we could still be saying the same things about the player. The loss of possession – what does he bring to team? And we would look at Xhaka in a city doing or achieving great things. It may simply be down to our set up and/or what players get exposed to when they come to this team. I still think he’ll go if the price is right but if he does stay lets see what Arteta can do with him. I keep thinking of how Henderson was vilified and rejected… Read more »


The arteta honeymoon phase is still on I see. He said something positive about a player we all know is quite shit and all of a sudden, “he just might be one of the best midfielders around.

But I know xhaka will not disappoint me. He will show his true colors soon enough.


One of the few things that I hope it will change with Arteta is the players’ attitude to instructions and substitutions. I don’t think Arteta will take any shit from lack of discipline.


I really like Xhaka.

Henry II

I hope this is Arteta just trying to inject some positivity and confidence into the team. For me at least Xhaka has had long enough to prove his worth and hasn’t done so with any real conviction with the opportunities given. I don’t think Xhaka will improve in the premier league, one because of the limitations in his physical attributes and two, because I don’t think he has any humility to learn from his mistakes. Not once did he reflect (in public) on his own actions in that unsavoury incident when I think we can agree that all parties could… Read more »

Billy Bob

Well that’s the first disappointing thing Arteta has done, was hoping to see Xhaka sold in January and the money reinvested sensibly!! Perhaps it is his way of trying to get more out of the player to increase his value and then ship him – certainly hope so

Bodie CI5

He like him? Ah shit


I hope Xhaka can change his fortune under the new coach.
Klinsmann, I mean.

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