Granit Xhaka: Unai Emery ‘does not know’ if midfielder will play for Arsenal again
Arsenal boss Unai Emery admits he “does not know” if former captain Granit Xhaka will play for the club again.
Xhaka, 27, was stripped of the club captaincy earlier this week after being involved in an angry confrontation with home fans during the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on 27 October.
The Swiss midfielder has not played since and will not play in Saturday’s Premier League game at Leicester City.
“He said to me that he’s not feeling good enough to play,” said Emery.
“I spoke with him on Tuesday about how he’s feeling and how he is in his mind. He’s working well, he’s training well.
“I need to be focused with the players we have, and then after the international break I am going to speak again with him.”
The Switzerland captain was booed as he walked off the pitch after being substituted against Palace, prompting him to cup his ear, take his shirt off and head straight down the tunnel to the dressing room.
Emery later said Xhaka should apologise to the club’s supporters, saying the midfielder “knows he was wrong”.
However, Xhaka did not go that far, although he did say he got “carried away” and reacted “disrespectfully” to fans following repeated threats to his wife and daughter.
Pushed on whether Xhaka may never play for Arsenal again, Emery added: “As a coach I have a responsibility for the team. We need a player like Granit Xhaka.
“But also, I don’t know if he’s going to play again. I don’t know if he is available in his mind to continue helping us and continuing defending the Arsenal shirt.
“Then, if I decide he is in the group with us, if he is ready and 100% in his mind with the decision to help us and to play with his quality helping us. We need that quality and that player.
“We’re now a little weaker without him in that position because we have one less player.”
Asked if a move for Xhaka in January had been mentioned, Emery said he had “asked that question” but also added: “I’m not thinking about that because we’re in November and we’re going to play a lot of matches in November and December.
“We cannot change him in that two months. The club is speaking with him and we’re going to decide how he is and how I’m thinking we use him.”
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