Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka signs contract extension
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has signed a contract extension at the club, seemingly ending speculation that he could be sold this summer.
Arsenal announced the deal on their website on Friday but did not disclose details, describing the contract only as "long term."
Xhaka joined the Gunners from Borussia Monchengladbach two years ago in a £35 million deal and played in all 38 of their Premier League games last season. However, he was often criticised for defensive mistakes in his role as a holding midfielder and his position in the team seemed under threat with the club in talks to bring in Sampdoria's Lucas Torreira.
But new head coach Unai Emery made it clear he plans to use the Switzerland international next season.
"I'm delighted that Granit has extended his contract with us. He's an important member of the squad and is still young so will be able to develop even more," Emery told the club website. "I hope he has a successful World Cup with Switzerland and comes back fit and ready for the new season."
Switzerland captain Stephan Lichtsteiner, who became Xhaka's club teammate when he joined Arsenal from Juventus last week, also said he hopes to help the midfielder take another step in his development.
"I've known Granit now for more than six or seven years, so he's just an amazing player," Lichtsteiner said. "He's very good and he's still young. It's not easy for him to be the direct leader at 23 or 24 years old, so I hope I can help him to become bigger and bigger. He had a very good season and I hope next year he will do even better.
"Off the pitch he is just a great person, a great character, very calm, he knows when he can joke and he knows when to concentrate. A top professional player on the pitch, great passing and just a great player."
Xhaka is the second Arsenal midfielder to sign a contract extension since Emery took over, following Ainsley Maitland-Niles' new deal this week.
However, Jack Wilshere has yet to make a decision on his future with just two weeks left on his current deal, while Aaron Ramsey only has a year to go on his contract.
Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.