Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been handed the Arsenal captaincy after midfielder Granit Xhaka was stripped of the role, Gunners’ boss Unai Emery has confirmed.
Xhaka, 27, was involved in an angry confrontation with home fans during the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on 27 October.
The Switzerland international was booed as he walked off the pitch at Emirates Stadium, prompting him to cup his ear.
“We make mistakes, we need to apologise and we suggested for him to do that,” said Emery at the time. “Really, he knows he was wrong and he feels inside very deep.”
“The scenes that took place around my substitution have moved me deeply,” Xhaka said in a statement on Instagram last month. “I love this club and always give 100% on and off the pitch.
“My feeling of not being understood by fans, and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last weeks and months, have hurt me deeply.
“People have said things like, ‘We will break your legs’, ‘Kill your wife’ and ‘Wish that your daughter gets cancer’. That has stirred me up and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium on Sunday.”
Xhaka, who has not played since, has been left out of Arsenal’s squad for their Europa League game in Portugal against Vitoria Guimaraes on Wednesday.
He joined the club in a £35m move from German side Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016 and played in the 2017 FA Cup final as Arsenal beat Chelsea.
Xhaka, who is the captain of the Swiss national side, also helped the Gunners reach the League Cup final in 2018 and the final of the Europa League earlier this year.
Arsenal are fifth in the Premier League and play away at third-placed Leicester on Saturday.