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Granit Xhaka tells Unai Emery he can’t play against Leicester as Arsenal exile continues



Granit Xhaka told Arsenal manager Unai Emery he is not ready to play against Leicester this weekend.

The Swiss international has not featured in a matchday squad since he told Arsenal fans to “f*** off” when leaving the field against Crystal Palace on October 27.

Xhaka, who said he reached “boiling point” after abuse directed at him and his family online, was stripped of the club captaincy as a result.

The midfielder has take part in training as he looks to regain his spot in Emery’s first team but told the Spanish tactician he is not yet ready to return.

Asked whether Xhaka would feature against Leicester, Emery replied: “Not yet.

“I spoke with him on Tuesday for how he is feeling now and his mind because he is training well but he said to me he can’t play.

“We are going to wait.”

There are doubts over whether Xhaka still has a future at Arsenal following the incident with rumours spreading that he may be sold in January.

Xhaka wants to ensure that, despite skippering his national team, he cements a starting spot for Switzerland ahead of Euro 2020 – and he believes he needs to play regularly at club level to achieve that.

“My wish is that we get back to a place of mutual respect, remembering why we fell in love with this game in the first place,” Xhaka wrote at the end of his statement in response to the Crystal Palace incident.

“Let’s move forward positively together.”

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was promoted to Arsenal captain after Xhaka was stripped of the honour and Emery explained that decision at his Friday press conference.

“The first captain is Aubameyang because he is experienced and he has the respect of the dressing room,” Emery said.

“He was the top scorer last year in the league and I know he needs time to take that responsibility 100% but we will support him.

“Every player will support every captain (Aubameyang, Hector Bellerin, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette) and we are going to support him as first captain.”

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Arsenal on scouting mission as Gunners eye January transfer for Granit Xhaka replacement




Arsenal are lining up a replacement for Granit Xhaka as the midfielder looks destined to leave the club in January.

With the 27-year-old ostensibly on his way, Arsenal have identified a successor in teenage sensation Dominik Szoboszlai.

According to Football Insider, Gunners scouts will be despatched to Cardiff to watch the Red Bull Salzburg star represent Hungary in their Euro 2020 qualifier against Wales on Tuesday evening.

The club are said to consider Szoboszlai as a genuine replacement for Xhaka, despite his relative inexperience, and they could act in January.

Arsenal’s attempts to sign him in the summer were unsuccessful as other deals took precedence but Xhaka’s expected departure would add a layer of urgency to the pursuit.

Szoboszlai has been monitored by the north London club throughout this campaign and has impressed in the Champions League as well as Austria’s top flight.

Juventus and Inter Milan are also reportedly interested in the Szoboszlai, though, as Salzburg face a fight to keep the player, who they have under contract until June 2022.

Whether or not Salzburg qualify for the Champions League round of 16 could be key to the club’s chances of keeping Szoboszlai; they are currently four points adrift of the qualification spots with two games remaining.

Xhaka has not played since telling fans to “f*** off” as he was substituted against Crystal Palace last month, owing his reaction to online abuse with which he reached boiling point.

The Swiss was stripped of the club captaincy by Unai Emery following his actions and told the Spanish coach he was not ready to return for the side’s last outing against Leicester.

It looks increasingly likely that Xhaka will leave in the January window with Newcastle and AC Milan both seriously interested in the player, whose Emirates Stadium deal expires in June 2023.

Before the international break Emery suggested Xhaka could never play for Arsenal again.

“As a coach I have a responsibility for the team. We need a player like Granit Xhaka.” Emery said.

“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.

“And 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.”

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Arsenal team news: Injury updates and return dates on Ceballos, Tierney, Xhaka




Arsenal could welcome Dani Ceballos back from injury this weekend but Granit Xhaka’s availability remains unclear.

The Gunners welcome an out-of-sorts Southampton to Emirates Stadium on Saturday at 3pm.

Manager Unai Emery is under pressure after a winless run of five games and is reportedly two poor results away from losing his job.

As a result, the Spaniard needs as strong a squad as possible at his disposal, so which players are returning from injury to help the side?

Dani Ceballos

The midfielder appeared to pull up with a thigh injury during the draw against Vitoria and was replaced despite his eagerness to continue.

“This weekend I cannot be on the field with @Arsenal I am forced to take a break, but I am already working to recover from this injury!” he tweeted after the game.

Ceballos has not featured for Spain over the international break, however, and is primed to be in contention for the weekend.

Granit Xhaka

The former club captain has not played since telling fans to “f*** off” after reaching boiling point as his substitution was cheered at the end of October.

Emery said the Swiss told him he was not ready to return and hinted that the midfielder could not represent the club again.

As Xhaka looks destined to leave in January it is unclear whether Emery will welcome him back into the squad.

Kieran Tierney

The left-back was left out of Scotland’s qualifiers against Cyprus and Kazakhstan at Arsenal’s request.

The club have been careful to ease Tierney back into action following his hip injury and wanted to ensure his pre-planned recovery programme was adhered to.

As a result, the defender should be available for selection against the Saints.

Emile Smith-Rowe

The 19-year-old has endured an injury-hit campaign and just as he seemed destined to return before the international interval, he suffered a muscle setback.

As a result the creative midfielder was omitted from the the Europa League tie against Vitoria in Portugal.

It is believed, however, that Smith-Rowe will be in contention to make the matchday squad.

Reiss Nelson

The winger is recovering well after suffering a knee injury at the start of October.

He was named on the bench for Arsenal’s recent Europa League draw at Vitoria but did not make it onto the field.

Although he is not thought to be ready for the starting line-up, Nelson has progressed well in the international break and could work his way back into Emery’s plans with more match fitness.

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Arsenal hero urges club to sack Unai Emery ‘now’ and uses Liverpool and Man City example




Arsenal must sack Unai Emery now because his players are not playing for him like Liverpool and Manchester City’s are for their respective managers, claims former Gunners striker Kevin Campbell.

Arsenal chiefs have publicly backed head coach Emery, saying they fully believe he is the right man to take the club forward.

That is despite the Gunners suffering their worst start after 12 league games of a season for over 30 years.

And Campbell believes he has not seen enough from the Arsenal players to suggest they can turn it around under Emery.

“Should the board act now?” Campbell said on AFTV.

“For me I think Unai Emery’s a nice man, he’s a nice man, but I don’t want nice men, I don’t want a nice man. He’s ruining a lot of people’s weekends to be honest.

“I could take a defeat if the team performed. I could take a defeat. I’m not saying I like defeats, I said I could take a defeat if the team perform and get beat.

“But when they don’t perform, and they’re not performing, and they’re throwing away leads on a regular basis, for me, sorry, there’s got to be change and there’s got to be change now.

“As far as I was concerned, the board would need to act now to rectify and to steer the ship in the right direction because the players to me look as though they’re not focussed they’re unfocused.

“They look like they haven’t got that togetherness, like you see with Liverpool and Man City.

“Even though they’re 3-0 down, Man City are grafting, they know exactly what to do, they’re sticking to the game plan.

Arsenal look like they’ve got no game plan. They’ve got no plans whatsoever and that’s why it’s so disjointed and that’s why we’re throwing away leads on a regular basis.”

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