MIKEL ARTETA is cracking down on Arsenal’s vaccine rebels after Granit Xhaka became the latest Gunner to contract Covid.

Midfielder Xhaka, 28, remains in quarantine in Switzerland after testing positive while on international duty with the Swiss last week.

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka has tested positive for Covid as boss Mikel Arteta urges stars to be vaccinated


Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka has tested positive for Covid as boss Mikel Arteta urges stars to be vaccinatedCredit: Rex

And boss Arteta is rapidly running out of patience with his players who ignore the club’s medical advice to get double jabbed.

He said: “Players will be limited in certain aspects if they don’t have the vaccine because we don’t want to expose ourselves to the virus.

“If they are travelling or socialising in certain places and they are not vaccinated, the risk increases a lot and we don’t want any of that within our group because the team will pay the price.

“We are trying to explain the reasons why we believe it’s the right thing to do and make sure that everyone understands all the facts.

“Some players don’t want to be vaccinated because maybe it’s a health issue, maybe it’s a contradiction that he has, his beliefs or the way he has been educated.

“But we want what is best for the club by trying to minimise the risk of any player contracting the virus and passing it on to anyone else.


“Granit needs to stay in his country until Saturday and as soon as he can be released and is OK to travel, he will be back with us. But the vaccine is not an obligation and we have to respect that.”

Arteta knows exactly how debilitating the virus can be after becoming the first person in British football to contract coronavirus in March last year.

And no club has suffered the effects of Covid more than Arsenal, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Ben White, Willian and Alex Runarsson missing games this season.

Brazil centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes was also laid low last season while the club’s planned pre-season trip to Miami had to be cancelled in July after an outbreak at the club’s London Colney training ground.

But not all of the players who tested positive have refused to be vaccinated and the club insists Premier League protocols are being followed, with players tested every three days.

Centre-back White, a £50million summer signing from Brighton, has now recovered after having to sit out costly defeats by Chelsea and Manchester City and is available for Saturday’s visit of Norwich.

Arteta is also hoping to receive international clearance for Japanese defender Takehiro Tomiyasu to make his debut following his £19.5m deadline-day signing from Bologna.

Arteta said: “First of all we need to obtain a work permit for Tomi and the club is trying hard to achieve that.

“He’s back in the country after international duty and I will meet him for the first time and see how he feels in training.

“He’s been playing for Bologna this season so he should be completely fit and we’ve been impressed, which is why we decided to sign him.”

Arsenal's new Japanese defender Takehiro Tomiyasu could make his debut against Norwich on Saturday


Arsenal’s new Japanese defender Takehiro Tomiyasu could make his debut against Norwich on SaturdayCredit: Getty
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says Premier League clash with Norwich is a must win for Gunners

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