Mikel Arteta has confirmed that Granit Xhaka will remain at the Emirates for the upcoming season.
The Swiss midfielder had reportedly been close to leaving North London to join Jose Mourinho’s Roma.
Xhaka scored Arsenal’s only goal in a 2-1 pre-season defeat to Chelsea earlier today, heading home from a corner, and Arteta quelled speculation over the 28-year-old’s future in his post-match press conference.
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“Granit is going to stay with us,” Arteta revealed.
“He's a player that we rate and value so much…a key member of our squad.
He wanted to play today and I think it's very clear commitment from his side that he wants to be here.
The Spaniard’s words line up with reports that Xhaka has been offered a new contract, with Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano suggesting a four-year deal has been offered.
Arteta provided more cautious updates when quizzed on the futures of Hector Bellerin and Joe Willock.
“I don't know. I'm going to coach them and train them, and respect and look after everybody because they are our players,” he said.
“Hopefully they can have their minds here and prepare here because they are Arsenal players and our job is to make them as good as we can.”
The Emirates welcomed back fans for the visit of Chelsea in the first Mind series pre-season fixture, as goals from Kai Havertz and Tammy Abraham secured victory for the European Champions.
The Gunners crowd were treated to a first glimpse of £50 million new signing Ben White, who made his debut following his move from Brighton.
For Arteta, it was an overall pleasing display against “the best team in Europe.”
“First of all, it was a great atmosphere,” he said.
“The fans were right behind the team and I think with 20 or 25,000, they created a great atmosphere at the stadium.
“I think we showed some really positive stuff and some worrying stuff when we gave the ball away in difficult positions, and when we had to do defensive organisation, it opened spaces in difficult moments.
“For what we could do against that team and where we are in pre-season, I think it was positive.”
However, any positives were marred by an injury scare to Thomas Partey, as the Ghanaian limped off during the first half.
Arteta said: “He's going to have a scan tomorrow and at the moment it's not looking good.
“He was in pain and he could not continue which, for Thomas, is pretty unusual.”
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