Arsenal manager Unai Emery has confirmed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the club’s permanent captain after stripping Granit Xhaka of the role.
Tensions between Arsenal fans and club captain skipper Xhaka reached boiling point last month when the midfielder was booed off the pitch as the Gunners drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace .
Xhaka responded to the jeering by cupping a hand to his ear and mouthing expletives before rejecting a handshake from Emery and taking off his shirt as he left the pitch.
And moments after Emery announced that Emery will no longer be his skipper, the Spanish manager confirmed that striker Aubameyang will step up to be his new No.1 man.
Xhaka, 27, was omitted from the squads against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup last week and the Premier League clash with Wolves over the weekend, while he also hasn’t travelled to Vitoria for Wednesday’s Europa League clash.
“I had a meeting with him and told him he is no longer in the captain’s group,” Emery explained at his press conference on Tuesday.
“He accepted my decision. We need to carry on and focus on tomorrow’s match.
“I needed to take a decision and now it’s closed.”
Xhaka was appointed captain after a dressing room poll amongst players in pre-season, leaving Emery risking the wrath of senior players with his punishment of a player clearly popular amongst his peers.
Three unnamed senior players reportedly visited Xhaka in his home after the Crystal Palace game to check on his wellbeing, and reports have suggested Emery’s grip on the dressing room is slipping.
Aubameyang captained the side against Wolves on Saturday and Emery confirmed he will take the armband moving forwards.
By: Matt Maltby
Photo Credit: REUTERS