Mikel Arteta Says £100k-A-Week Arsenal Player Is ‘Much, Much Better Than Before’ And key For The Team
- Mikel Arteta says £100k-a-week Arsenal player is ‘much, much better than before’ and key for the team.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has waxed lyrical about Granit Xhaka, saying the Gunners midfielder has improved on and off the pitch. Xhaka joined Arsenal in 2016 from Borussia Monchengladbach for £35million and has made 200 competitive appearances for the North Londoners.
His time at the Emirates Stadium has been eventful to say the least, with some highs and some lows. The highs include two FA Cup victories, while the lows include his public fall- out with Arsenal fans in October 2019 and his red card against Burnley. Xhaka remains very much in Arteta’s plans, having forged a great midfield partnership with Thomas Partey.
“I thought he [Xhaka] was excellent the other night against Wolves,” the Arsenal boss told the Evening Standard ahead of Saturday’s game with Aston Villa.
“He has been really consistent. I think he is improving game by game. I think his balance with Thomas is getting stronger, they haven’t played much together, and that chemistry has to flourish. “I think they make each other better and we have a good balance between left and right footed there in those spaces as well.
“Then there is his leadership level as well, he has matured a lot as a player and he has got a big importance in that dressing room. On the pitch, I think he is doing things much, much better than before as well.
“He is a really important player for us. Since I have been here I think he has played almost every game – and there is not a better way to show how much you like and you value a player than to give him minutes on the pitch. ”The former club captain may have copped a fair bit criticism on a couple of occasions and continues to split opinion amongst the fanbase even now, but it cannot be denied that Arsenal simply aren’t as good without him in their line-up.
Arteta is a coach with very high standards who isn’t afraid to freeze players out or offload them, as we’ve seen over the past year, so the £100,000-a-week enforcer has clearly put in a lot of hard work on the training ground.