The Gunners boss says the incident in which the Swiss international was sent off against Burnley was handled internally
Mikel Arteta says he is unwilling to “throw it all away” with Granit Xhaka just because the midfielder made a mistake when he was sent off against Burnley.
Xhaka saw red during Sunday night’s 1-0 loss after grabbing Ashley Westwood by the neck during a hand-to-hand fight on the field sparked by a poor challenge.
Arteta described the incident as “unacceptable” immediately after the game, and there were suggestions that Xhaka could leave the window when the transfer window opens, either in January or in summer.
But Arteta backed the Swiss international when asked if the 28-year-old had a future at Arsenal after the last rocky moments during his stay in north London.
“He has and he’s not the only one, there are a lot of players who have had rocky moments,” said the Gunners boss.
“What I can say about Granit is its professionalism, its commitment to the club and its team is maximum.
“He knows, and we all know, that he had a moment when he lost him. I know the reason for this, but I can’t throw away everything he did because he made a mistake.
“We all make mistakes and I’m here too to protect the players when I see they deserve it and Granit sure is one of them because he approaches every training session as he wants to do things right and always the professional he is. “
Xhaka is the second high profile Arsenal player to be sent off during the club’s recent poor form.
Nicolas Pepe also saw red in the 0-0 Leeds tie after being spotted headbutted Ezgjan Alioski in an off-ball incident.
Pepe later publicly apologized for his actions, which Xhaka has not yet done.
Arteta wasn’t going to rely on the midfielder to at least apologize to his teammates, despite saying the incident had now been handled behind the scenes.
“Whatever happened internally, I’m sorry, but we can’t discuss,” he said. “It was resolved internally and I can tell you that.”