Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confirmed that Granit Xhaka will stay at the club this season, but there is an injury scare after Thomas Partey limped off during a pre-season friendly.
Roma made offers to sign Xhaka this summer – and while a transfer looked likely, Arsenal’s valuation was never met by the Serie A side.
Arteta said on Friday that Xhaka remained a “key part” of his plans, but has now gone a step further by confirming the 28-year-old Swiss midfielder will remain at the Emirates this season.
“Xhaka is staying,” Arteta said after the midfielder scored against Chelsea in Sunday’s pre-season friendly.
“He wanted to play. He is a key player for us.”
Xhaka’s presence could be even more crucial for Arteta after fellow central midfielder Partey was injured during Sunday’s 2-1 friendly defeat.
Partey, who joined Arsenal last October from Atletico Madrid, appeared to suffer an ankle injury following a tackle by Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech and was withdrawn five minutes before half-time.
“I just had a talk with the doctor,” Arteta said.
“He’ll have a scan tomorrow. At the moment it’s not looking good.”
Arsenal begin their Premier League campaign against newly promoted Brentford on Friday 13 August, as Arteta looks to improve on last season’s eighth-placed finish.
While the decision to Xhaka may appear to be a U-turn by Arsenal, it is thought Arteta never wanted to let the midfielder go having initially convinced him to stay in January 2020.
Xhaka started 29 Premier League games for Arsenal last season, the only outfield player who started more was Bukayo Saka (30).