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Mikel Arteta speaks on Granit Xhaka’s turnaround at Arsenal

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has praised the attitude shown by Granit Xhaka during the backend of the 2019/2020 campaign. The Switzerland international was involved in a furious bust-up with the fans when he was substituted during a Premier League clash against Crystal Palace in October last year and he was shortly stripped of the captaincy.

Unai Emery, who was the head coach back then, decided to drop the midfielder for the next five matches before he made his comeback against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League. The game ended 2-1 in the German club’s favour and that paved the way for Emery’s dismissal from the managerial role.

Xhaka was thereafter linked with a January move to Hertha Berlin, but he made a U-turn on the decision to leave the club after he was convinced by Arteta’s plans for him. The 27-year-old was able to command a regular starting role during the backend of the season and played a key role in the club’s FA Cup success where they beat Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final respectively.
Speaking after the 2-1 comeback win over Chelsea in the FA Cup final, Arteta said: "He is a really good example of this, but the players have to be willing and they have to have the personality and the workrate he has. You need to have faith and courage to face the problem, to slowly start to knock down the wall and start to enjoy the profession in the way he deserves. We were just there to support him a little bit and to give him a little bit of advice. We were right behind him. The rest was up to him and he deserves credit for that."
Arsenal are expected to make multiple changes to the squad ahead of next season and the focus could be on building the midfield around Xhaka. Atletico Madrid star Thomas Partey has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium. He has a release clause worth £45m on his contract.