Granit Xhaka has been warned by Perry Groves that “his time at Arsenal is over”, with a player who has been stripped of the captaincy after lashing out at fans that booed him expected to be sold in January.
The Switzerland international midfielder reacted angrily to being jeered by his own supporters when being substituted in a Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium.
He issued a statement on social media after sparking a storm in north London, but has seen the armband taken away from him by Gunners boss Unai Emery – with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stepping up in his place.
Many have suggested that Xhaka will find it difficult to rebuild the bridges he has burned, with cult hero Groves among those who feel that the 27-year-old’s days are now numbered.
He told talkSPORT of a divisive figure: “I think his time at Arsenal is over. I believe they’ll come to an agreement [in January].
“On a personal level and a human level he’s in a really bad way. It’s really hurt him.
“I was booed by Arsenal fans and it’s like being disowned by your family. But his reaction was wrong. He should have just apologised, and said I reacted in the wrong way.
“If you say 'but', it weakens the apology. He needs to move in January, and find pastures new.”
Groves believes Xhaka was always the wrong choice to lead Arsenal, with further questions being asked of the squad vote which saw the Swiss elected as Gunners skipper.
“First and foremost when Emery asked the players who they wanted to be captain, that was wrong,” added Groves.
“In those cases you vote for your mate, don’t you? Or, if not, you vote for someone who has brought a bag of sweets in – it’s like being back at school.
“He’s clearly very popular in the dressing room, there’s no doubting that.
“When I was getting booed by the Arsenal fans I could win them back because I ran around a lot and put the effort in.
“I closed someone down or threw myself into a tackle – Xhaka’s not that sort of player, though.”
Arsenal endured another frustrating evening in their most recent outing, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Vitoria Guimaraes in the Europa League, and will be back in domestic action on Saturday when they travel to fellow top-four hopefuls Leicester.