Arsene Wenger has backed Unai Emery’s decision to strip under-fire midfielder Granit Xhaka of the Arsenal captaincy.
The Switzerland international was stripped of the club’s armband this week following his angry reaction to the home crowd during the draw with Crystal Palace last month, the 27-year-old cupping his ears to the Arsenal fans and mouthing ‘f*** off’ as he was substituted following another below-par display.
Xhaka has come under fierce criticism this season following his performances and admitted afterwards that he had reached ‘boiling point’, though he has been removed as captain by Arsenal manager Emery and replaced in the role by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Former Arsenal manager Wenger admits he finds it difficult to comment on situations regarding the North London club, having held such an affinity for the club during his 26-year tenure in charge.
“I don’t talk a lot about Arsenal, I just support them,” Wenger said on BeIn sports.
“I’m a supporter who wants a team to win, so that’s all.
“For me, it’s very difficult to have any assessment on Arsenal because it will be straight away interpreted when you’ve been at the club for such a long time.
“So I’m just a supporter. When they don’t win I’m not happy, when they win I’m very happy.”
Despite his reluctance to comment on Arsenal matters, Wenger did speak on Xhaka and believes that Emery has made the correct decision in removing the much-maligned midfielder as captain.
“As a manager you have to face these kind of decisions,” he added when pressed on the issue surrounding Xhaka.
“We always face the unexpected as a manager, you have to make quick decisions.
“I think Arsenal Football Club is respected all over the world because it’s built on values and everyone has to respect these values and the manager has to get them to be respected.
“Arsenal, for me, had always had a touch of class, for me football today in the modern era has a huge responsibility on the way we behave, the way were are examples.
“Arsenal are part of the big clubs in the world and we have to show that.”
Wenger is yet to return to management since leaving Arsenal last year, though has this week been linked with the vacancy at Bayern Munich following the German club’s decision to sack manager Niko Kovac.
However, according to The Athletic, Bayern have distanced themselves from speculation that Wenger could become the club’s next manager, with a source from the Bundesliga side reportedly revealing that the Frenchman is not amongst their list of candidates.