Published On: Mon, Oct 28th, 2019

Arsenal news: Winterburn says Wenger problem will return – ‘We simply cannot have that’ | Football | Sport

Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn believes the saga surrounding Granit Xhaka will bring back the “divide” there was during Arsene Wenger’s final few seasons at the club.

Fans and former players have called for Xhaka to be stripped of the Arsenal captaincy following Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

The midfielder was jeered and booed by supporters as he strolled off when being substituted with the score level.

Xhaka reacted by gesturing towards the crowd, swearing and taking his shirt off before walking down the tunnel at the Emirates.

And Winterburn believes the backlash to the incident is going to lead to a similar atmosphere to the end of former boss Wenger’s time at the club.

“I was amazed when he cupped his ears, his shirt was off and people are saying then he was swearing at the supporters,” Winterburn told talkSPORT.

“It’s not something you do expect from your captain and I’m sure internally it’s going to be dealt with very, very quickly by the club.

“What it does is it then puts a lot of pressure on the next game where the manager starts Xhaka because if he doesn’t start well or he makes him captain, you’re waiting then for that reaction from supporters, and you want your supporters with you.

“When you’re not playing as well as the supporters want you to play, you need those supporters with you.

“Now you’re going to find there’s going to be that divide we had towards [the end] of Arsene Wenger’s reign, and we simply cannot have that at Arsenal Football club again.”

Winterburn does not agree with head coach Unai Emery’s strategy with captains but says Xhaka needs to have the armband taken off him.

“I think Unai Emery needs to take him out of the firing line in terms of the captaincy,” the former left-back added.

“He’s got five captains and he can easily do that.

“I don’t agree with five captains and I don’t like this ‘vote for your captain scenario’. The manager should pick the captain. I find having five captains very, very bizarre.

“This has all put Unai Emery in a very difficult situation and he’s got to deal with it quickly, he can’t let it linger on.”

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