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'I couldn't move an inch': Chukwueze says Arsenal ace gave him such a hard time in Europa League

Arsenal ace Granit Xhaka has been named by Samuel Chukwueze has the toughest player he has faced in this season’s Europa League.

The Gunners man normally plies his trade as a midfielder, but for a couple of games late last season, he played at left-back while Kieran Tierney was on the sidelines.

Xhaka was deployed there for the Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal, and Chukwueze admits he was given a hard time by the Swiss star.

Photo by Alex Caparros – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Chukwueze fielded questions ahead of the Europa League final against Manchester United.

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When asked to name the toughest player he faced in this season’s Europa League, he replied, as quoted by Allnigeriasoccer: “It was Xhaka.

“He was man-to-man marking me. He didn’t give me space. He was just very close to me and I couldn’t move an inch.”

Chukwueze on Arsenal radar?

Chukwueze has been linked with Arsenal in recent years.

According to a report in La Razon from April, the likes of Arsenal, Everton and West Ham are currently interested in Chukwueze’s services.

However, the Premier League contingent is said to have competition from long-time admirers Atletico Madrid.

Arsenal apparently had the opportunity to sign him for just £4million back in 2015, months after Nigeria’s victory at the Under-17 World Cup.

But according to Guardian Nigeria, the move ended up falling through as Arsenal reportedly spurned the chance to snap him up.

Xhaka, Arteta’s trusted lieutenant

Xhaka has had his fair share of critics over the years but there’s no denying he gives his all for Arsenal and steps up when needed.

For a player of Chukwueze’s calibre to describe Xhaka as the toughest opponent he has faced in the Europa League is testament to the Gunners man’s quality.

Admittedly he is needed much more in midfield, but still he can be proud with his efforts out of position.

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