Arteta wanted to sign Xhaka at City

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT - By DANIEL MUR­PHY

MIKEL Arteta has re­vealed he was once in­ter­ested in sign­ing Granit Xhaka for City.

The new Ar­se­nal boss left the Blues last week to re­place the sacked Unai Emery at the Gun­ners.

The Spa­niard had been at City since he re­tired from play­ing in 2016 and worked as Pep Guardi­ola’s as­sis­tant.

De­spite the suc­cess he had with the Blues, the al­lure of tak­ing charge of the club he spent five years of his ca­reer at and cap­tained was too much to turn down and he de­parted fol­low­ing the Carabao Cup vic­tory over Oxford United.

Xhaka, who ar­rived in a £40m deal from Borus­sia Monchengla­d­bach, was a re­place­ment for Arteta in the Ar­se­nal mid­field.

But if Arteta had got­ten his way, he might have ar­rived at the Eti­had in­stead.

“When I was go­ing from Ar­se­nal to City to start coach­ing and we were look­ing in that po­si­tion, he was one of the play­ers on my list,” Arteta re­vealed.

“This is how much I liked him. I was happy when Ar­se­nal signed him be­cause I thought he was go­ing to be a ter­rific player.”

Xhaka was at the cen­tre of con­tro­versy when he was booed by Ar­se­nal fans for slowly walk­ing off the pitch af­ter be­ing sub­sti­tuted while his side were los­ing to Crys­tal Palace. The event led to the Swiss in­ter­na­tional be­ing stripped of the cap­taincy.

“He has done some re­ally good things and now he has got stuck in a very dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion,” said Arteta.

“But I think we are in the right di­rec­tion with him.”

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