Mikel Arteta insists he is hoping Granit Xhaka stays at Arsenal, despite the unsettled midfielder being heavily linked with a January exit.
Swiss midfielder Xhaka missed Sunday’s 2-1 home defeat by Chelsea due to illness, but has a number of European clubs reportedly still monitoring his situation ahead of the January transfer window.
Xhaka was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy in October after reacting angrily to being booed by Gunners fans.
Hertha Berlin are said to be pushing hard to prise the 27-year-old away from north London, but Arteta maintains he wants Xhaka to stay put.
Asked whether he wants Xhaka to leave, Arteta replied: “I hope not.
“He played at Bournemouth, he played really well, he was very committed, he played a really good game.
“After the game he started to feel ill. He had a temperature and he wasn’t feeling good. The last two days he was in bed. That’s why he wasn’t been selected.”
Arsenal threw away a commanding position in a dismal defeat by Chelsea after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal had the Gunners leading into the last 10 minutes.
Bernd Leno’s goalkeeping calamity gifted Jorginho the chance to tap into the empty net before Tammy Abraham fired the winner for the Blues.
Leno raced out and flapped at a Chelsea cross from a free-kick, leaving Jorginho free to net a simple equaliser.
That shock goal let Chelsea steal the win and deny Arteta a dream home debut at the Arsenal helm, leaving the new boss to admit he must now rally round his goalkeeper.
“He will be down. When an error costs the team points, it’s harder,” said Arteta.
“We have to lift him. He’s done a really good job since he joined this football club and we have to respect that.
“We just need to bring the confidence back in and that’s it.”