Arsenal are in talks with midfielder Granit Xhaka over a new two-year contract extension, sources have told Football Insider.
The 30-year-old’s current deal expires next summer, and the Gunners are keen to keep hold of Xhaka and avoid losing him on a free transfer.
Mikel Arteta values Xhaka as a key player at Arsenal and views him as a leader in the club’s dressing room.
It is understood that Xhaka is happy at Arsenal and eager to pledge his long-term future to the North London club following their success in the Premier League this season.
Arsenal turned their attention towards negotiating with Xhaka after already agreeing terms with first-team stars Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.
Football Insider sources revealed on Saturday (25 February) that Saka has agreed to a new £57million five-and-a-half-year deal at Arsenal, which ended Man City’s interest in the 21-year-old winger.
Xhaka has been everpresent for Arsenal this season as they climbed their way to the top of the Premier League table, with the Swiss international appearing in every league match this season.
Across all competitions, Xhaka has scored four times and assisted five goals in 32 total appearances.
Xhaka joined the Gunners in 2016 after completing a £30million move from Borussia Monchengladbach and was named the club’s captain in 2019.
Former manager Unai Emery then stripped Xhaka of the armband later that year after an incident where he swore at the crowd.
But Xhaka has seemingly repaired his connection to the club’s fanbase, describing his relationship with supporters as “beautiful” earlier this season.
Gabriel and William Saliba spotted in heated discussion after Arsenal win vs Leicester
Arsenal pair Gabriel and William Saliba were spotted in a heated discussion on the pitch after beating Leicester.
The Gunners landed a narrow 1-0 win on Saturday afternoon after Gabriel Martinelli scored the only goal of the game amid some contentious refereeing.
Gabriel was clearly unhappy with Saliba
The two players were in a heated discussion at full-time
However, Mikel Arteta’s men were always in control at the King Power Stadium and limited Leicester to just one shot in the entire match.
But centre-back pairing Gabriel and Saliba were clearly not happy despite performing a defensive shutout of the Foxes and were spotted in an animated conversation at full-time.
Gabriel can be seen walking over to his defender partner and appearing to confront him with both players gesticulating wildly.
Saliba then shoved the Brazilian in the chest, though it is unclear whether the situation was as serious as it first appeared.
However, it has led to many to point to the fact that the standards at the Emirates have been heightened as they strive for perfection, even after restricting Leicester to just one shot – and none on target.
Arsenal emerged victorious after Martinelli struck straight after half-time from a Leandro Trossard assist – but the Belgian could have had a goal of his own.
Arsenal may have kept a clean sheet
But that was clearly not enough for Gabriel and Saliba
After a delicious strike into the top corner, VAR intervened and ruled that there had been a foul on Leicester goalkeeper Danny Ward for the slightest of touches from Ben White.
And Bukayo Saka was denied a penalty despite appearing to be hauled down by Harry Souttar in the box.
Nevertheless, it keeps Arsenal at the top of table – where they sit two points ahead of Manchester City and with a game in hand.
After losing to Pep Guardiola’s men earlier this month and relinquishing top spot, it appeared that there were cracks starting to appear in Arsenal’s title bid.
But they have landed back-to-back wins instead to reassert themselves over their rivals while Arteta has been over the moon with the team’s response.
Arsenal have landed back-to-back wins since losing to City
“Really important because it creates more belief in the players, around the club and externally,” the Spaniard said.
“But I had the belief the players could do it. It was [about] coming back to some details and basics that got games away from us.
“The last two games, especially today, we have done it much more.”