Mikel Arteta says he believes Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka will stay at the Emirates Stadium in the January transfer window, despite speculation linking him with a move to Hertha Berlin.
Xhaka had been widely expected to leave the club either in January or at the end of the season after relations with the club’s fanbase soured earlier in the season.
The 27-year-old’s agent, Jose Norguera, has said there is already an agreement in place with Hertha if a deal is reached between the two clubs – but Arteta isn’t so sure.
“I think he is going to stay, yes,” Arteta told reporters.
“Very good. I really like him. I think with the way we want to play, we’ll get him on board, he can be a tremendous player for the football club.”
When pressed on whether he had received assurances from Xhaka on his future, Arteta hesitated but smiled: “Yes. He did, yes.”
Xhaka has apparently been identified as one of Hertha’s top transfer targets, as the ambitious Bundesliga side look to put together a team capable of challenging for silverware and European qualification.
German businessman Lars Windhorst seems intent on spending heavily in the coming seasons, with Jurgen Klinsmann recently installed as manager.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Julian Draxler and Mario Gotze of Borussia Dortmund are among the big-name players to have been linked with the Berlin side in recent weeks.
At the half-way stage of the German campaign, Hertha sit 12th in the table, one point and one place below Union, the former East Berliners enjoying their debut season in the Bundesliga.
For now, it seems as though Xhaka’s focus remains in north London.
Goals from summer signing Nicolas Pepe and Sokratis helped Arsenal on their way to a convincing victory, with Xhaka putting in a positive performance of his own.
With Arsenal now back into the top half of the Premier League, attentions switch to the third round of the FA Cup.
The Gunners face a tricky home tie against Championship leaders Leeds United, before league games against Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Chelsea.
Arteta has called on Arsenal fans to get behind their side, saying his team plays much better with the crowd behind them.