When Granit Xhaka didn’t train ahead of the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea today, and wasn’t even in the squad for the game, speculation over the future of the Swiss international increased.
Having made it clear via his agent that he wants to leave, and with Hertha Berlin interesting in signing him in January, it felt like the kind of absence that occurs before a player leaves.
However, after the game Mikel Arteta insisted that the 27 year old’s absence was down to illness, rather than an imminent departure.
“He played at Bournemouth,” said the manager. “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’s been in bed.
“That’s why he’s not been selected.”
Asked directly if Xhaka would be leaving in January, a curt “I hope not”, put an end to that part of the conversation.
With Man Utd visiting on Wednesday, and with heavy legs from an intensive period of games, it’d be good to have as many players fit and available as possible, but it’s clear that January reinforcements are a must.
Whether that means some players have to go remains to be seen.