Granit Xhaka would "think twice" if offered the chance to captain Arsenal again but is proud of the way he has turned things around after appearing set to leave the club.

Xhaka's furious reaction to being jeered by fans following his substitution during the 2-2 home draw against Crystal Palace on October 27 led to former boss Unai Emery stripping him of the club captaincy.

It was unclear at the time if the Switzerland international would ever play again for the Gunners, as he was strongly linked with a switch to Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin.

However, the arrival of Mikel Arteta as head coach has given Xhaka a fresh start, with the 27-year-old delighted at how his situation has changed in recent months.

"Of course, I don't lie. There was a moment, because it was not easy for me and my family. I hope people understand this," Xhaka told the Evening Standard when asked if he thought his Arsenal career was over last year.

“But I think I showed my character. I am not a guy who runs away. I always say to the club, 'when I [am] here, I am ready to give everything'. It was like this always.

"I train very hard and that things turned around is the key. This [has given me] the most happiness."

On captaining the team in the future, he said: "I know with or without the armband what I can give the team. If one day the club asks me about the armband, I have to think twice."

Xhaka has started every Premier League fixture for Arsenal in 2020, including Sunday's 3-2 win over Everton at Emirates Stadium.

Mikel Arteta saluted Gabriel Martinelli's courage and enthusiasm following the teenager's exceptional goal in Arsenal's eventful 2-2 Premier League draw with Chelsea on Tuesday.

Martinelli raced from well inside his own half to score on the counter just after the hour at Stamford Bridge, cancelling out Jorginho's first-half penalty for Chelsea.

Arsenal defender David Luiz had been sent off for committing the foul on Tammy Abraham that sent Jorginho to the spot but the Gunners snatched a point even after falling behind for a second time.

Hector Bellerin beat goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga with a left-footed finish moments after Cesar Azpilicueta had prodded Chelsea into a seemingly secure 83rd-minute lead.

Arsenal boss Arteta highlighted his players' character and made special mention of Martinelli's maturity, the 18-year-old having continually impressed since arriving from his native Brazil in the close season.

"To play in this stadium the way he has done with 10 men and against Azpilicueta, who in my opinion is one of the best defenders in the league, and he was going against him every single time, you need courage to do that," Arteta said.

"Then his energy. I wanted to take him off a few times because he looked knackered, he was cramping and next minute he's sprinting 60 yards again.

"Not just him. I think Laca [Alexandre Lacazette] is playing at a really good level, even though he's not scoring, and Nico [Nicolas Pepe] as well, and everybody that's coming in. They are fighting really hard in training to try to convince us to play more.

"When they question some things I tell them [to] speak on the pitch and this is to speak on the pitch."

Arteta was forced to deploy Granit Xhaka in defence after losing David Luiz and praised the former captain for overcoming the "varied" state of mind that led him to contemplate a transfer earlier this term.

"I tried to convince him that this was the right place for him to stay, that I wanted to give him the opportunity to try to enjoy playing football again and everything I ask him to do, every training session he is willing to do it," the Gunners boss said.

"Today I knew, the moment I put him there, I didn't know how good he was going to do but he was going to put everything out there, and he was great."

Jorginho was left feeling as though Chelsea had lost to 10-man Arsenal after second-half "mistakes" cost them two points in Tuesday's entertaining 2-2 draw.

The Blues were twice pegged back at Stamford Bridge despite having a numerical advantage for over an hour following David Luiz's red card, the ex-Chelsea defender dismissed after fouling Tammy Abraham in the box.

Jorginho converted the resulting spot-kick, only for Gabriel Martinelli to erase the lead at the end of a lung-busting run in the 63rd minute.

Cesar Azpilicueta prodded the hosts back ahead inside the final 10 minutes but Hector Bellerin conjured a quick response with his side's second shot of the game, forcing Frank Lampard's men to rue a missed opportunity.

"We feel like we lost the game," Jorginho told BT Sport.

"We had the game in our hands, then in the last second conceded a goal when we shouldn't. It's hard. We need to move forward.

"I don't think it's confidence because we played well and were controlling the game. Something about concentration maybe. In these kinds of games, you lose in moments. 

"We made mistakes. That is it. These big games are like this. You can win and lose the game in the details."

The draw was Arsenal's third in succession and left them 10th in the Premier League.

Granit Xhaka, who was moved to centre-back after David Luiz's red card, said the hard-earned away result proved a point to those who claim the Gunners lack resilience.

"After this game nobody will have to speak about us," Xhaka said. "We showed big character today. A lot of people speak about us, say we are not ready, we have no character in the team, but I think after this game everyone will see that we have [character].

"We played very well after the red card. It's so difficult always with one less, but [we showed] great team spirit. We were saying at half-time that we can do it and we twice came back. I am very proud of this team."

Mikel Arteta persuaded Granit Xhaka to remain at Arsenal after promising the midfielder he would enjoy his football again.

Xhaka seemed set to leave Arsenal in this month's transfer window, having been heavily linked with a move to Hertha Berlin.

The Switzerland international was replaced as club captain by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after a confrontation with Arsenal fans during a home match against Crystal Palace in October.

Former Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Xhaka had reportedly agreed terms with Hertha, but Arteta now believes the 27-year-old will remain at Arsenal.

"The first message for him was that I wanted to understand how he was feeling, why he was feeling that way," Arteta, who has won two of his four matches in charge of the Gunners, told reporters.

"I wanted him to hear from me my opinion on him, and that I was ready to support him and that I was ready to push the club to be supportive of him too, because I thought he could be a really, really good player for us and he could enjoy in this football club playing under me.

"I tried to convince him that way. He thought about it, he had a very positive response afterwards and I think he changed his mind."

Arteta is also unconcerned over the aftermath of the incident against Palace and believes Xhaka's relationship with Arsenal's supporters will soon be on the mend, despite his previous desire to leave the club.

"It is very common now. Every club has its own issues. Some things within the club, some within the media, some from social media," Arteta added.

"It is very difficult nowadays to have one full year where everything is perfect.

"It is the environment, we have to deal with that and hopefully in a few months nobody remembers these issues. Of course it is not ideal when players respond and it creates an instability. So as much as we can avoid it, the better."

Mikel Arteta says he is not thinking about the prospect of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaving Arsenal during the January transfer window.

Aubameyang has been linked with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter having hit 13 Premier League goals this season, despite the Gunners' poor run of form that lead to Unai Emery's departure.

Responding to rumours about his future, the Arsenal striker this week told RMC: "For now, I'm here. I'm 100 per cent here."

Aubameyang became Arsenal's captain after Granit Xhaka was stripped of the armband by Emery and Arteta is determined to keep the Gabon international, whose contract expires in 2021, at the club.

Asked if Aubameyang could leave in January, Arteta told reporters on Thursday: "I don't even think about that possibility with Auba, I want him here."

Arteta also reiterated his intention to keep Xhaka at Arsenal, with Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin having lined up a deal for the Switzerland international.

"I had a conversation with him and I wanted to understand his feelings, the reason why he was feeling he wasn't in the right place for his career," Arteta said ahead of Arsenal's FA Cup third-round tie against Championship high flyers Leeds United.

"I told him I was ready to support him. I wanted his team-mates to get his back, to help him change his mind because we need him. I've seen him act and train every day and the quality of the player. He can be a really quality player for the club

"From my perspective, I don't want him to leave. I hope [he stays]. I said to the club no. I said to him no. After, in life, I cannot control what happens."

Arteta also indicated Eddie Nketiah will depart on loan for the second half of the campaign after his spell at Leeds was cut short.

"Again, I have to speak with him," Arteta added. "I think the first idea was that he was going to be on loan for the rest of the season. 

"We have to assess the situation again now. At the moment [I don't know] but I will have some answers very soon."

Granit Xhaka has given Mikel Arteta assurances that he will stay at Arsenal, according to the Gunners head coach, who gave an optimistic view of the midfielder's future at the club.

Xhaka had reportedly agreed to join Hertha Berlin in the transfer window, with his future at Arsenal in doubt ever since he reacted angrily to being replaced during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace in October.

But after missing Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea on December 29, Xhaka started 2020 in positive fashion with a strong performance in his side's 2-0 victory over Manchester United on New Year's Day.

Asked whether the 27-year-old had given him assurances that he would stay at Emirates Stadium, Arteta told reporters: "He did, yes.

"I think he's going to stay. I really like him. If we get him on board, he can be a tremendous player for us."

First-half goals from Nicolas Pepe and Sokratis Papastathopoulos helped Arteta to his first victory since taking over as Arsenal boss and he praised his side's improved performance.

Arteta suggested there is more to come from his players, who he said are not yet at the level of fitness he expects of them.

"Everything we tried to do against them worked really, really well," Arteta told BT Sport.

"I think we had enough chances to put the game to bed much earlier and in the second half we knew that physically we were going to drop: at the moment we are not ready to maintain that level of intensity through 90 minutes.

"But the spirit, the commitment and the desire the boys are playing with at the moment is terrific."

Gunners defender David Luiz echoed his coach's comments, and indicated that Arteta's arrival has transformed the spirit in the Arsenal camp.

"We have to be honest and humble to admit: physically we are not ready," said Luiz. "We showed that in the second half against Chelsea, and we showed that today.

"This team is in a moment now to change a lot of things. We cannot change from zero to 10 in one day, one week or one month.

"Mikel is a great coach. He knows football, he was a great player. I believe in his philosophy and he can improve every single player and in life when you're happy the results can be totally different.

"If you sleep happy you can sleep four hours and it's better than sleeping sad for eight hours. If you work with happiness, believing what you are doing, it's totally different."

Mikel Arteta vowed to lift Bernd Leno's spirits after the goalkeeper's error cost Arsenal in a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea, and the new Gunners boss also said he hoped Granit Xhaka would stay at the club.

Leno allowed a Mason Mount cross to pass him by before Jorginho scored Chelsea's equaliser at Emirates Stadium, cancelling out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's opener in a game Arsenal dominated before half-time.

Arsenal collapsed in the closing stages, with Tammy Abraham sliding Chelsea's winner through Leno's legs three minutes from time to ensure Arteta suffered his first defeat since taking charge.

Arteta admitted the defeat would affect Leno's confidence, but called upon his players to look forward to their clash with Manchester United on New Year's Day.

"He will be down, but we have to lift him," Arteta said of Leno. "He's been brilliant for this football club.

"I'm really disappointed with the result, the way we conceded and the timing. I'm pleased with lots of things, but I'm disappointed to lose.

"I thought the structure was good. We need to control those situations but they are really good in transition.

"We have to move on."

The omission of Xhaka from Arteta's starting line-up added weight to speculation linking the Swiss midfielder with a move to Hertha Berlin in January.

Arteta insisted an illness was behind the decision to leave him out, telling reporters: "He started to feel ill after the Bournemouth game.

"I hope he doesn't leave in January."

Manchester United may be eyeing Everton forward Richarlison, but Carlo Ancelotti has other ideas.

Brazil international Richarlison, 22, is reportedly among numerous attackers being targeted by United.

However, the arrival of Ancelotti at Goodison Park could mean Richarlison is going nowhere.

 

TOP STORY – ANCELOTTI TO BLOCK MAN UTD'S RICHARLISON BID

Ancelotti will block any Manchester United bid for Richarlison, according to The Sun.

The report says Everton would even reject a £70million bid for the forward, who signed a five-year deal earlier this month.

Richarlison has scored six Premier League goals this season, having netted 13 in 2018-19.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Everton and Ancelotti would seriously consider a move for Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne, according to Le 10 Sport. Ancelotti and Insigne worked together in Naples before the former was sacked earlier this month.

- Paris Saint-Germain are interested in Juventus full-back Mattia De Sciglio, according to CalcioMercato. Emre Can has been linked with a move to PSG and Leandro Paredes to Juve, with De Sciglio potentially being included in those talks.

- Inter are moving quickly for Arturo Vidal. Sport reports the Serie A club have offered €12m for the midfielder, although Barcelona want €20m, amid reports Vidal has agreed to terms with Inter ahead of a possible move in January.

- Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz is a wanted man. The Spain international is a key target for Real Madrid for the 2020-21 season, according to AS, which says Fabian wants a move to the Santiago Bernabeu despite interest from the likes of Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Manchester City.

- Mikel Arteta is not ready to let Granit Xhaka leave. Amid reports the midfielder has told Arsenal he wants to join Hertha Berlin in January, The Sun suggests Arteta is in no rush to sell Xhaka as he assesses his squad.

- After links to numerous coaches, it seems Inter Miami have found their man. ESPN reports the MLS club – which will make their debut next year – have reached an agreement with former Monterrey and Pachuca coach Diego Alonso.

Granit Xhaka has reached an agreement with Hertha Berlin and informed Arsenal he wants to join the Bundesliga club, according to the player's agent.

Xhaka's future at Emirates Stadium has been in doubt since the midfielder reacted angrily to being replaced during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace in October.

The former Borussia Monchengladbach star cupped his ears to the home fans, who mockingly cheered his substitution during the Premier League fixture, then removed his shirt before walking straight down the tunnel.

After being stripped of the captaincy by former boss Unai Emery, a January exit appeared likely. Yet new head coach Mikel Arteta has made clear of his admiration for the Switzerland international, revealing how he had suggested that Manchester City should sign him in 2016.

Xhaka, who joined the Gunners from Monchengladbach, started in the 1-1 draw away at Bournemouth on Boxing Day – Arteta's first game since taking charge.

However, Jose Noguera claims the 27-year-old has a deal in a place with Jurgen Klinsmann's Hertha in the hope of completing a transfer in the January window.

"Look, I will say it frankly and honestly - we are in agreement with Hertha and would like to go to Berlin," Noguera told Blick.

"That's what we said to Arsenal's club boss Raul Sanllehi and sports director Edu Gaspar – as well as the new coach Mikel Arteta."

 

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta revealed he wanted to bring Granit Xhaka to Manchester City in 2016 as the new boss talked up the former Gunners captain's future at Emirates Stadium.

Xhaka has been linked with a move away from Arsenal following a turbulent season in London, which saw the midfielder stripped of the armband under Unai Emery after reacting angrily to his substitution during a Premier League clash against Crystal Palace in October.

After a falling out with some of Arsenal's fans, former Borussia Monchengladbach star Xhaka has found himself back in the fold amid links to Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin.

Arteta, though, has no intention of parting with Xhaka, who was a potential transfer target for Pep Guardiola and City prior to the Switzerland international's move to Arsenal three years ago.

"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," said Arteta, who left City for Arsenal last week. "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."

"I told him how much I like him and what I expect from him," Arteta added. "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."

Arteta will oversee his first match in charge since replacing Emery when Arsenal travel to Bournemouth on Boxing Day.

With Atletico Madrid struggling for regular goals, Diego Simeone is keen to address the problem.

Atletico have only scored 20 goals in 18 LaLiga matches this season – the club relying heavily on Alvaro Morata's seven strikes.

Simeone's solution could be about to arrive from the French capital, where a Paris Saint-Germain star has fallen down the pecking order.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID NEARING CAVANI DEAL

Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani is close to joining Atletico Madrid in January, according to Marca.

Cavani has reportedly agreed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Atletico, while PSG would prefer to keep the 32-year-old until the end of the season.

The soon-to-be free agent has found himself behind loanee Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar this season.

Signing Cavani in the January transfer window could force Atletico to sell due to their salary-limit issue, with Thomas Lemar a possible casualty.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United pair Nemanja Matic and Marcos Rojo have been told they will be sold in January, according to the Daily Star. Matic has been linked with Serie A duo Milan and Inter, while Atletico have emerged as an option for the veteran midfielder.

- According to AS, Valencia want to sign right-back Joao Cancelo from Premier League champions Manchester City. The LaLiga outfit are keen for a January reunion with Cancelo, who initially joined Valencia in 2014 before leaving permanently in 2018. Valencia want to re-sign the Portugal international on an initial loan.

Hertha Berlin have entered negotiations with Granit Xhaka to bring the former Arsenal captain back to the Bundesliga, reports RMC Sport. Hertha have turned their attention to ex-Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Xhaka after failing to prise Lucas Tousart from Lyon.

Chelsea have been offered the chance to sign Isco. The Daily Express says Real Madrid are trying to offload players to free up funds to bring in Tottenham star Christian Eriksen in January. City are also reportedly interested in Madrid's Isco.

Mario Mandzukic's proposed switch to Qatari outfit Al-Duhail from Juventus has broken down due to wage expectations, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Barcelona only want to loan out defender Jean-Clair Todibo in January amid interest from Milan and Bayern Leverkusen. United have also been linked with the 19-year-old.

Sead Kolasinac is facing several weeks on the sidelines after Arsenal confirmed he suffered ankle ligament damage against Manchester City.

Kolasinac hobbled off in the first half of his side's 3-0 defeat to City last weekend.

In an injury update on their official website on Friday, Arsenal revealed the 26-year-old defender is "aiming to return to full training in January".

Arsenal are already without fellow left-back Kieran Tierney until March after the Scotland international underwent surgery on his dislocated shoulder earlier this week.

And in a further blow for the Gunners ahead of Saturday's Premier League meeting with Everton, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Mesut Ozil are all fitness doubts.

Bellerin (hamstring) and Holding (knee) played no part in the defeat to City, while Ozil injured his right foot prior to being withdrawn in the second half.

Dani Ceballos is aiming to return to training next week after missing Arsenal's last six Premier League games, while Granit Xhaka is available for selection after recovering from the concussion he sustained against West Ham.

Arsenal are 10th in the Premier League ahead of their trip to Goodison Park, seven points adrift of the top four.

Arsenal have confirmed Kieran Tierney dislocated his shoulder in Monday's 3-1 win over West Ham, as a lengthy absence beckons.

Scotland international Tierney signed from Celtic in August for a reported £25million to bolster the left side of their defence, but his impact has been minimal due to injuries.

He joined the club during rehabilitation for a pelvic injury, limiting him to 11 appearances across all competitions.

The 22-year-old started each of Arsenal's two most recent matches, but he lasted only 29 minutes at West Ham after falling awkwardly in his own penalty area.

After receiving medical attention, Tierney gingerly walked off the pitch using his jersey as a makeshift sling. Arsenal announced the nature of his injury in a short bulletin on Wednesday.

A timescale for his return has not been provided, but he will not play again this year and is a doubt to feature in January.

Hector Bellerin sustained a hamstring injury during the warm-up before the West Ham win and is being monitored ahead of Sunday's visit of Manchester City, with the match against Standard Liege on Thursday coming too soon for him.

Nicolas Pepe, who scored only his second Premier League goal on Monday, will also miss Thursday's Europa League clash due to a bruised knee, though he has not been ruled out of the City match.

Granit Xhaka is out of both upcoming matches, however, after he sustained concussion at West Ham.

Freddie Ljungberg's first game in temporary charge of Arsenal ended in a 2-2 draw against Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday thanks to a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Teemu Pukki put Norwich ahead via a deflected effort before Aubameyang equalised with a retaken penalty kick, having seen his initial effort from the spot saved.

Todd Cantwell restored Norwich's advantage with a smart finish before Aubameyang levelled for a second time from a corner.

Ljungberg, who played for Arsenal between 1998 and 2007, was promoted from a coaching role to interim boss after Unai Emery was sacked on Friday.

Unai Emery is adamant the Arsenal players still have belief in him and suggested Granit Xhaka will return to the team on Thursday for the first time since clashing with supporters.

The Gunners are without a win in six games in all competitions, with fan frustration hitting new heights in recent weeks.

Emery is reportedly close to being dismissed, with Wolves' Nuno Espirito Santo said to be among those in the running to replace him, though the former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla boss insists he is only thinking about Thursday's visit of Frankfurt.

Arsenal head into the match top of Europa League Group F with 10 points and Emery is calling on supporters to back the Gunners and specifically Xhaka, who has not played since a confrontation with fans in the clash with Crystal Palace on October 27.

"They are angry and disappointed, as well we are. We have a very good opportunity to [correct] do that," he told reporters.

"Each match here at the Emirates is very important for that... The players need to feel [fans] backing them.

"Xhaka is in the group and he has the possibility to play. I hope every supporter supports him. Xhaka's comeback is going to be important for us."

It has been reported that Emery's relationship with some of his players has fallen apart, with the Basque coach said to have had a row with Alexandre Lacazette, though he has no doubt the squad is behind him.

When asked if the players still believe in him, Emery said: "Yes, of course, they show that.

"As a coach each moment in my career is difficult. This is a very good, but very hard job. When you are winning you feel the support for everybody.

"I believe in us, I believe in the players. I know I am going to work very hard to come back to the performance.

"I am looking forward to playing. In the good moments, the bad moments, the most important thing for me is to show my work.

"Our confidence depends a lot on how we can feel in our stadium with our supporters. Teams are coming here playing fearless. We need to be strong and together. We need to show our supporters our capacity and skills."

Page 1 of 4
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.