“It was a decision for the club”
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has commented on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil’s unceremonious departure from the club. The duo left the Gunners after falling out of favour under Mikel Arteta.
Speaking to Football Daily, Xhaka touched on the non-negotiables Arteta has in place at the Emirates. The Swiss midfielder explained that the north London club supported Arteta’s decision to part with the pair:
“It’s still a process. I think the process is not done. You say these two players (Aubameyang and Ozil), big names for this football club, and we respect them alot. But of course to do this, you need support from the club, and I think Mikel (Arteta) had this support from the club as well.”
Xhaka claimed that Arteta made the right decision regarding the duo but that he held a good relationship with the two departees:
“You have different types of characters today, different types of players as well and now, of course, you can say that it was a good decision from Mikel to do that. I want to say that my relationship with both players was very good. I never had any problem with any players, but it was a decision for the club and Mikel.”
Ozil left Arsenal in 2021 after his Gunners contract was terminated. The German attacker joined Fenerbahce.
However, the former Real Madrid player was frozen out by Arteta and rarely featured in his final campaign at the Emirates. The forward was regarded as one of the Gunners’ greatest playmakers during his time at the club. He scored 44 goals and provided 79 assists in 254 games across competitioms.
Meanwhile, Aubameyang‘s departure was much more tumultuous. The Gabonese striker was stripped of the club’s captaincy by Arteta due to a perceived lack of commitment.
His continuous breaches of the Spaniard’s rules were enough for the Gunners boss to send him packing on a free transfer to Barcelona in January 2022. The frontman netted 92 goals in 163 games across competitions during his time at the Emirates.
Arteta lauds Arsenal defender William Saliba’s attitude amid breakout season
Arteta has been particularly impressed with William Saliba’s attitude at the Emirates. Arteta explained how the Frenchman is keen to develop into a top centre-back. He said (via the Evening Standard):
“For the first week, I didn’t speak to him. I just wanted to see – naturally, without me really interfering in his thoughts – how he was. Because then you can understand the real him, and after that, I spoke to him.”
“His attitude, the way he came in and said: ‘I’m going to prove that I’m very good, and I deserve to be here.’”
Saliba has been one of Arsenal’s most important players this season as the Gunners push for their first league title since 2004.
The young French defender has featured 29 times across competitions, scoring two goals and providing an assist. He has helped Arteta’s side keep 12 clean sheets. The Frenchman’s contract expires next year, and he has been in talks over extending his stay at the Emirates.
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