Granit Xhaka has reached an agreement with Hertha Berlin and informed Arsenal he wants to join the Bundesliga club, according to the player’s agent.
Xhaka’s future at Emirates Stadium has been in doubt since the midfielder reacted angrily to being replaced during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace in October.
The former Borussia Monchengladbach star cupped his ears to the home fans, who mockingly cheered his substitution during the Premier League fixture, then removed his shirt before walking straight down the tunnel.
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After being stripped of the captaincy by former boss Unai Emery, a January exit appeared likely. Yet new head coach Mikel Arteta has made his admiration for the Switzerland international clear, revealing how he had suggested that Manchester City should sign him in 2016.
Xhaka started in the Gunners’ 1-1 draw away at Bournemouth on Boxing Day – Arteta’s first game since taking charge.
However, Xhaka’s agent Jose Noguera claims the 27-year-old has a deal in a place with Jurgen Klinsmann’s Hertha in the hope of completing a transfer in the January window.
“Look, I will say it frankly and honestly – we are in agreement with Hertha and would like to go to Berlin,” Noguera told Blick.
“That’s what we said to Arsenal’s club boss Raul Sanllehi and sports director Edu Gaspar – as well as the new coach Mikel Arteta.”
Xhaka’s reported exit from the Emirates didn’t seem so straightforward in the lead-up the match against the Cherries, with Arteta declaring his admiration for the former skipper.
“As a player, 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. This is how much I liked him,” Arteta said.
“I was happy when Arsenal signed him because I thought he was going to be a terrific player. He has done some really good things and now he has got stuck in a very difficult situation that, I think, was growing and growing and growing and one day it exploded.
“But I have been amazed as well by how this relationship is starting to come back a little bit and I think the fans have been very, very positive about him as well.
“Obviously it is difficult to change completely the scenario from where he was to a magnificent one. But I think we are in the right direction with him.”
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