Mikel Arteta offers lifeline to Granit Xhaka over his Arsenal career

Arsenal v Burnley - Premier League
Granit Xhaka has been linked with an exit at Arsenal (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images )

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has dampened speculation that Granit Xhaka could leave the club in January by insisting he cannot overlook the midfielder’s qualities.

The Switzerland international was sent off shortly before the hour-mark against Burnley after grabbing Ashley Westwood by the throat.

Arsenal were dominating until Xhaka’s dismissal but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored an own goal 15 minutes later to consign the Gunners to their fourth straight home defeat.

Reports since have claimed that Xhaka could leave the club in just a fortnight’s time when the January transfer window opens but Arteta insists that Xhaka still has a future at the club.

Arsenal Training Session
Arteta insists Xhaka has a future at the club. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

‘He has [had a few rocky moments] and he’s not the only one,’ said Arteta.

‘There’s a lot of players who have had rocky moments. What I can say about Granit is that his professionalism and his commitment with the club and with his teammates is maximum.

‘He knows and we know that he had a moment where he lost it and I know the reason why, but what I cannot do is just throw everything that he has done away just because he made a mistake.

‘We have all made mistakes and I am here as well to protect the players when I see that they deserve that and for sure, Granit is one of them for the way he approaches every training session and the way he wants to do things in the right way all the time and the professional that he is.’

Reports on Sunday night claimed certain members of the squad were unhappy with Arteta’s criticism of Xhaka in his post-match press conference.

It followed the Spaniard’s public dressing down of Nicolas Pepe after the Ivorian was dismissed against Leeds United in November for a similar off-the-ball incident.

However, Arteta says the Xhaka matter has been dealt with internally.

‘Whatever happens internally, I’m sorry but we cannot discuss,’ said Arteta.

‘It’s been resolved internally and this is what I can say.’

MORE : Ian Wright urges Mikel Arteta to drop Willian, Alexandre Lacazette and Granit Xhaka ahead of Arsenal’s clash vs Southampton

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