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£100,000-a-week midfielder reveals why he refused to leave Arsenal

Gunners midfielder Granit Xhaka admits manager Mikel Arteta convinced him to remain at the Emirates and he is now ‘pleased’ to be back in the club. The 27-year-old midfielder was stripped of the captaincy after an altercation with the Gunners supporters during their 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace in October.

Granit’s agent Jose Noguera revealed that his client had agreed on a contract with Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin for a winter transfer, but the move failed to materialise. Having been frozen out by Unai Emery, Xhaka was initially reintegrated by interim coach Freddie Ljungberg before Mikel made a point of highlighting his importance.

Switzerland international said: ‘I have to smile a little bit because I am very, very happy to be back and to enjoy what I love the most: playing for this team and playing football. ‘I had a very, very good meeting with him three days after he came into this team.

He told me a lot of things, and I was very open with him, and he was very open with me. ‘And now we are here, we are both delighted to bring this club to where they have to be.’ The Spanish boss has impressed in his first ten matches in charge of his former side, winning four and keeping five clean sheets.

Arsenal footballers have been united in their praise of the 37-year-old manager, with centre-back David Luiz saying he has brought the fun back to playing for Gunners. The Swiss midfielder echoes David’s commendation, he added: ‘It’s always good when the manager can protect you, and he speaks openly with the footballers and me.’