Mikel Arteta reveals Granit Xhaka’s knee injury could have been ‘even WORSE’ after three-month lay-off was confirmed, as boss says he’s been ‘impressed’ with back-in-favour Ainsley Maitland-Niles
- Granit Xhaka has been ruled out for three months with a knee ligament injury
- The Arsenal midfielder limped out of his side’s 3-1 win over Tottenham on Sunday
- Mikel Arteta has revealed that the blow could have been even worse for Xhaka
- Arteta admits he has been ‘impressed’ with Ainsley Maitland-Niles recently
Mikel Arteta says Granit Xhaka’s knee injury could have been even worse after he suffered a setback against Tottenham that will see him ruled out for three months.
Swiss midfielder Xhaka is facing a long spell on the sidelines after a collision with Spurs winger Lucas Moura which has left him with ‘significant’ damage to the medial ligament in his right knee.
Xhaka saw a specialist on Tuesday and has managed to avoid the need for surgery but Arsenal manager Arteta said: ‘First of all it is a significant injury but he probably escaped an even worse injury than he could have had because that action for the cruciate ligament is a tricky one.
Mikel Arteta (right) revealed Granit Xhaka’s knee ligament injury could have been a lot worse
The Swiss midfielder limped out of Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Spurs and is out for three months
‘His mentality is top. He knows what he needs to do. Hopefully he can escape surgery as well which is something really, really important and after that just start preparing himself in the best possible way because time flies.
‘Obviously it is really bad news personally for Granit because he has had a couple of incidents already this season with Covid, the suspension and now with the long-term injury.
‘But he has a strong mind and will use this time to focus on other things and I’m sure that he will be back in the right place when he is back but he is a big player for us, someone really important and he will be missed but other players have to step in.’
The Gunners have several options to replace Xhaka as they prepare for a trip to Brighton on Saturday, including Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who publicly revealed his intention to quit Arsenal in an angry Instagram post in late August.
Arsenal manager Arteta has challenged other players to step up to the mark this autumn
Ainsley Maitland-Niles could start Arsenal’s trip to Brighton this Saturday in Xhaka’s place
Maitland-Niles was forced to train with the reserve team for a short period before fixing his issues with Arteta and the Arsenal hierarchy before the transfer deadline, amid interest from Everton.
Arteta confirmed that Maitland-Niles is one of the midfield options he has at his disposal after being impressed with the 24-year-old during recent Premier League cameos.
‘He’s certainly one of the options,’ Arteta said when talking about the England international. ‘We have used him quite a lot at the start of the season, I’m really impressed.’
Other than Maitland-Niles, summer signing Albert Sambi Lokonga is also in contention to start, with Mohamed Elneny – who was close to an Arsenal exit to Besiktas this summer, is an option as well.
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