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‘We never wanted to let him go’ – Arteta on Xhaka’s transfer saga

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal never wanted to sell Granit Xhaka this summer.

The midfielder was being tracked by AS Roma during the current transfer window, but they failed to meet Arsenal’s £20million asking price.

The club have since extended Xhaka’s contract by a year until 2024 by activating an option in his current deal – and there is another option to extend it until 2025.

Arteta is delighted Xhaka, who captained the side against Brentford last week, stayed and says Arsenal never waned to sell him.

“We never wanted to let him go,” he said. “We explained to him the role he would have in the team, how important he was and how far he has come in the last two seasons.

“And the fact that he has come through some difficult moments and how he has reacted and achieved and the respect he has gained, not only on the field, but around the club and in that dressing room.

“We believe that he was a really important figure and we need players like that for the development of the young players we have.

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“It’s difficult because you don’t get to see much of what happens inside.

“People just analyse a performance or a way of a player playing and whether you like him more or less. But from our side there is no doubting his importance in the team and squad.”

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