November 8, 2019 10:30:21 PM
Unai Emery admits Granit Xhaka may have played his last game for Arsenal and revealed conversations have taken place over whether he should be sold in January.
The midfielder has been absent for the last three matches after telling supporters to “f*** off” as he was jeered as he was substituted during a draw against Crystal Palace last month.
Emery, having later stripped Xhaka of the captaincy, confirmed he had taken the decision for him to sit out Saturday’s game at Leicester after conversations between the pair ended with the 27-year-old declaring he was unavailable.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident against Palace, the club offered counselling to a player who Emery described as “devastated, sad and very down”.
He will now miss what could be a key game at Leicester as Emery stated he had taken the call to once again leave him out.
“Not yet,” Emery replied when asked if Xhaka was ready to feature at the King Power Stadium.
“I spoke with him on Tuesday about how he’s feeling now and how he is in his mind. He’s working well, he’s training well, but he said to me that he’s not feeling good enough at the moment to play. We are going to wait.
“It’s my decision. 100 per cent. But first I need to speak to him because he’s a person, our player and I want to know how he is feeling now. And then I decide.”
Pushed on whether Xhaka may never play for Arsenal again, he 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, because if he is available in his mind to continue helping us and continuing defending the Arsenal shirt, I think time is giving us that solution.
“And then, if I decide he is in the group with us, if he is ready and 100 per cent in his mind with the decision to help us and to play with his quality helping us. Because we know we need that quality and that player.”
Reports surfaced earlier in the week that the club may try and move Xhaka on in the winter transfer window to alleviate what could potentially become a long-term problem.
And Emery did little to quell the speculation when it was put to him whether the club had spoken about a possible move.
“Yes, I asked that question,” he said.
“The club knows the player’s decision at the moment and my decision or my idea about that situation and the circumstances.
“We are now a little weaker without him in that position because we have one less player in that position.
“I am not thinking about that because we are in November and we are going to play a lot of matches in November and December. We cannot change him in that two months.
“I need to be focused on the match tomorrow with the players we have, and then after the international break I am going to speak again with him.
“The club is speaking also with him and we are going to decide each moment how he is and how I am thinking for how we are to use him.”