Emery considering Xhaka return

Arsenal

Arsenal boss Unai Emery says midfielder Granit Xhaka could return to the fold for Saturday's meeting with Southampton.

The Switzerland international has not featured in any of Arsenal’s last four matches after he clashed with the club’s fans during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

Xhaka was substituted during the second half before the crowd booed and jeered and the then-Arsenal skipper retaliated. He threw his shirt on the floor before walking down the tunnel, and he was then stripped of the captaincy after the incident.

Xhaka apologised via a statement in the aftermath, claiming he had “reached boiling point” following alleged threats to his family.

The 27-year-old missed the draws against Wolves and Vitoria Guimaraes as well as the 2-0 defeat to Leicester City before the international break.

Xhaka was in good form for his country and scored during Switzerland’s 6-1 win over Gibraltar.

Recent media reports claim Newcastle United and former club Borussia Monchengladbach are interested in making a bid in January, but Emery appears ready to bring him back into the Gunners fold.

Emery told reporters. “He is coming back better in his mind, his mindset is better to help us and to be closer to playing when we need him.

“I spoke to him this morning, and we had a very good conversation. He trained very well before the international break, and he trained very well this morning.

“My objective is going to be his comeback to help us and convince every supporter of his commitment with us, and his performances will be better, and they will be proud of him in the short or long future with us.”

Arsenal will look to end their five-match winless run when they welcome Southampton to London this weekend. A victory could see them move into fifth if results go their way before they then return to Europa League duty against Eintracht Frankfurt.

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