Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has insisted that midfielder Granit Xhaka is part of his plans and will remain at the club.
The Switzerland international has an uneasy relationship with Gunners fans and has been linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium this summer, with Roma credited with an interest.
Xhaka, 28, headed Arsenal’s equalising goal during the Gunners’ 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea in a pre-season friendly at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
After the game, Arteta told talkSPORT radio station: “Granit is going to stay with us. He is a key member of our squad.”
Arteta was instrumental in convincing Xhaka to remain at Arsenal in January 2020 after the Swiss was stripped of the club captaincy following a string of poor performances from both player and team that made him a target of the fans' ire. Xhaka's current deal at Arsenal runs through to 2023.
Arteta's announcement comes after the Spaniard watched another of his midfielders, Thomas Partey, sustain an ankle injury in the first half against Chelsea following a collision with Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
After the match, Arteta told reporters: “I just had a talk with the doctor. He’ll have a scan tomorrow. At the moment, it’s not looking good.”
Arsenal have been linked with a move for Leicester City's James Maddison, though the Foxes £70 million price tag is thought to be a stumbling block. The Gunners are still monitoring Martin Odegaard's situation at Real Madrid, who spent the second half of the 2020/21 season on loan at the Emirates, as they look to bring in an attacking midfielder this summer.
Arsenal play one final friendly against North London rivals Tottenham on August 8 before their Premier League campaign gets underway against newly-promoted Brentford at the Brentford Community Stadium.