Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta admits he is a fan of Granit Xhaka so much so the midfielder was on a list of recommended signings he handed over to Manchester City.
Arteta, who was appointed as Unai Emery’s successor last Friday, ended his playing career with the Gunners in 2016.
Xhaka then joined during the summer but Arteta, who had taken up a coaching role under Pep Guardiola at City, was clearly impressed by the Switzerland international – whose Arsenal career appeared over after he swore at his own supporters during a game against Crystal Palace.
“As a player, 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,” he 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, and him as well.
“Obviously it is difficult to change completely the scenario from where he was a magnificent one. But I think we are in the right direction with him.”
Xhaka was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy following his behaviour towards the club’s fanbase and was replaced in the role by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
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