Mikel Arteta showered Granit Xhaka with praise amid speculation the influential Arsenal midfielder is eyeing a return to the Bundesliga this summer.
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The Switzerland international has enjoyed a renaissance this season, deployed in a more attacking role by his manager whose unflinching faith in the, at times divisive, 30-year-old has played a key role in keeping him at the club.
Xhaka was on the brink of departing shortly after Arteta’s appointment following his infamous bust-up with his own supporters during Unai Emery’s tenure, and also came close to leaving nearly two years ago when Jose Mourinho attempted to sign him for Roma.
Reports earlier this week claimed Xhaka had already told teammates he was keen on the idea of a move back to the Bundesliga, where he spent four years at the heart of Borussia Monchenglach’s midfield.
Kicker also claimed that Xhaka’s wife, Leonita, views Germany as the ideal place to bring up the family’s young children, amid speculation that Bayer Leverkusen are preparing an offer in the region of £15million.
‘There are always rumour,’, Rolfes was quoted as saying by German outlet Fussball Transfers when asked about the Xhaka link on Wednesday.
‘We are looking around the market, but I will not comment on that.
‘We want to fundamentally improve our team. There will be changes, we want to create new impetus.’
Asked for a response at his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s must-win game against Brighton, Arteta insisted he was delighted with the performances of a player who has helped guide his young squad over the course of such a positive season for the club.
He said: ‘I’m not gonna reply to certain stories about Xhaka. I’m extremely happy with Granit, he’s having an incredible season.
‘This is probably the best season he’s had at the club. We are really happy to have him.’
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