Arsene Wenger believes Unai Emery was right to strip Granit Xhaka of the captain’s armband, with his swift decision protecting Arsenal’s core values.
Xhaka, 27, was sacked as Arsenal skipper earlier this week after his outburst during a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace sparked widespread backlash from fans and pundits alike.
What is Wenger’s view on the Xhaka debate? Five things to know…
- Xhaka was recently stripped of the captain’s armband at Arsenal.
- The decision came after he reacted angrily to being booed off during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
- As he was withdrawn, the Swiss midfielder cupped his ear towards the Emirates crowd and hurled abuse.
- Emery branded Xhaka’s actions “wrong” in the immediate aftermath and has since handed the armband to Aubameyang.
- Wenger believes his successor’s quick actions have upheld the core values of Arsenal.
The Switzerland international is a polarising figure in north London and was jeered off against the Eagles, prompting him to swear and gesture towards Arsenal supporters.
Emery has since allocated the vacant captain’s role to star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a decision backed by former long-term manager Wenger.
“You have to make as a manager these types of decisions,” Wenger told beIN Sport. “You face the unexpected as a manager and have to make quick decisions.
“I think Arsenal Football Club is respected all over the world because it’s built on values and everybody has to respect these values and the manager has to get them to be respected.
“Arsenal for me always had a touch of class and for me, football today in the modern era, has a huge responsibility on the way we behave, on the way we are examples or not and Arsenal is part of the big clubs in the world that has to show that.”
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Wenger sympathises with Xhaka
Despite Xhaka coming in for intense flak from every angle, Wenger – who initially purchased the midfielder from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016 – has outlined his sympathy for his former player.
The Frenchman believes the seismic pressure of modern football can put players under immense stress.
Wenger added: “You have people with the passion, the pressure they’re under, the disappointment they carry around, they sometimes have reactions you don’t want but you have to remind people that the behaviour you want.
“I think Xhaka is an intention player, contrary to what I heard in recent weeks, and finally he apologised and that’s what you wanted from him.”