Mikel Arteta Unai Emery Manchester Germany Switzerland Football Arsenal Mikel Arteta Unai Emery Manchester Germany Switzerland

Granit Xhaka ‘crucial’ part of surprise Arsenal title challenge – Mikel Arteta

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Mikel Arteta praised the influence of Granit Xhaka in helping Arsenal carve out their surprise title challenge this season but would not be drawn on whether the midfielder will still be at the club next season.Xhaka has been a key figure alongside Thomas Partey in Arteta’s midfield this campaign, becoming a respected leadership presence and redeeming himself in the eyes of supporters after a public spat in 2019 threatened his place in the squad.Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen have been heavily linked with a move for the 30-year-old, whose contract is due to expire at the end of next season.He spent four years in Germany with Borussia Monchengladbach before Arsene Wenger brought him to Arsenal in 2016 for around £30million, but he endured a strained relationship with fans culminating in a confrontation as he was substituted during a game against Crystal Palace at the Emirates four years ago.Then manager Unai Emery subsequently stripped him of the captaincy and his time at the club looked to be over.But this season has seen a full rehabilitation for the Switzerland international as Arsenal ran Manchester City to the final weeks of the season for the title and returned to the Champions League after a six-year absence.“For me (he’s been) crucial – really, really important at every level, and I think for the team and the club as well,” said Arteta, who said he would not comment on the futures of any of his side until after Sunday’s Premier League finale against Wolves.“In the great moments like this season he has had, and in the difficult ones, because I think we have become a better club and better people and we have understood certain situations much better than just judging them.“I think the club and a lot of people have

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