Thursday 14 November 2019

'I don't know if he's going to play again' - Unai Emery admits Granit Xhaka may not return for Arsenal

Xhaka will miss his fourth match in a row against Leicester (John Walton/PA)
Xhaka will miss his fourth match in a row against Leicester (John Walton/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has cast doubt over Granit Xhaka's future at the club, after hinting he has spoken to the Switzerland international about a move in the January transfer window.

Xhaka has not played for Arsenal since he hit back at the club's supporters for jeering him as he left the field in last month's Premier League game against Crystal Palace and will sit out Saturday's game against Leicester.

After he was stripped of the club captaincy by Emery, the Arsenal boss has not conceded Xhaka may not play again amid suggestions that he will be moved on from the club in January.

"I spoke with him on Tuesday about how he's feeling now and how he is in his mind. He's working well, he's training well, but he said to me that he's not feeling good enough at the moment to play. We are going to wait," stated Emery.

"It's my decision, 100 per cent. But first I need to speak to him because he's a person, our player and I want to know how he is feeling now. And then I decide.

"As a coach, I have a responsibility for the team. We need a player like Granit Xhaka, but also, I don't know if he's going to play again.

"I don't know, because if he is available in his mind to continue helping us and continuing defending the Arsenal shirt, I think time is giving us that solution.

"Then, if I decide he is in the group with us, if he is ready and 100 per cent in his mind with the decision to help us and to play with his quality helping us. Because we know we need that quality and that player."

It is clear that Emery and Xhaka have spoken about a possible transfer in January, as he gave a broad hint that the club may be willing to all the player to leave.

"I asked that question," he said, when questioned on whether Xhaka will be sold in the upcoming transfer window.

"The club knows the player's decision at the moment and my decision or my idea about that situation and the circumstances.

"We are now a little weaker without him in that position because we have one less player in that position.

"I am not thinking about that (selling Xhaka) because we are in November and we are going to play a lot of matches in November and December. We cannot change him in that two months.

"I need to be focused on the match tomorrow with the players we have, and then after the international break I am going to speak again with him.

"The club is speaking also with him and we are going to decide each moment how he is and how I am thinking for how we are to use him."

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