Blow for AC Milan as Arsenal boss Arteta reveals admiration for €35m man

By Oliver Fisher -

New Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has revealed he is a fan of Granit Xhaka amid links with a move to AC Milan, suggesting he will keep him.

On Tuesday, a report from MilanNews.it suggested that Milan could sell midfield duo Franck Kessie and Lucas Paqueta in the January window for the right offer, and that Granit Xhaka could be looked at as a potential replacement.

The Swiss international seemed set to leave the Gunners two years after arriving from Monchengladbach in a deal worth €35m (as per Sky).

His future at the Emirates appeared to be over when he told fans to “f*** off” after being substituted against Crystal Palace back in October.

However Arteta – who was announced as the new Gunners boss last week – has revealed that he is a fan of the 27-year-old, which spells bad news for Milan’s pursuit.

“When I was going from Arsenal to City to start coaching in 2016 and we were looking in that position, Xhaka was one of the players on my list,” he said (via the Mirror).

“That 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 was growing and ­growing and ­growing and one day it exploded.

“But I have been amazed by how this relationship is starting to come back, and I think the fans have been very, very positive about him, as he has as well.

“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 spoke to him and told him how much I like him and what I expect from him. How important he is for the team.

“I am here to help him, I want him to feel 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, it will be helpful for the team.

“I want to give the players ­confidence, ­reassurance and guidance. Slowly, hopefully we’ll get to where I want.”

Tags AC Milan Granit Xhaka