Arteta wanted to sign Xhaka at City
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.”