Charlie Nicholas believes that Granit Xhaka’s reign as Arsenal captain should be over after the weekend’s incident and has named teammate David Luiz as the right man to take the armband from him
The Gunners let a two-goal lead slip to draw with Crystal Palace on Sunday in the Premier League and it was a frantic encounter at the Emirates Stadium.
One controversial moment took place when Xhaka was substituted off against Palace in the second-half, as he cupped his ear in response to negative noise from home supporters and appeared to swear.
The Swiss midfielder has never been the most popular player at the North London club and they are now internally dealing with the weekend’s incident.
Ex-Arsenal player and current pundit Nicholas wants to see a new leader appointed, which he recognised will be difficult in the current dressing room.
But he feels that defender Luiz is the right man to step up and would have qualities in that role.
“Xhaka may be current captain but I don’t think he will be captain anymore after what he did at the weekend. He’s representing Arsenal as a captain and it is unacceptable to think you’re as big as anything at the club. His behaviour was atrocious, and I don’t see him having a future at the club,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.
“On Soccer Saturday at the weekend we had a nice interview with David Luiz and he came across as a good talker, who has a real understanding of the game.
“Yes, he’s not a physical guy or someone who’s going to scream at people because the game has changed. The players now don’t like the criticism that we used to probably accept as players in the past.
“As it stands right now it could be anybody but I’d rather they just said it’s going to be David Luiz. We’ve brought him in, he’s won the title and he’s got more experience than most. You just put him in charge of it and then the manager takes responsibility for that, and off you go. It’s a start.”
Arsenal fans are waiting to see if Xhaka receives any punishment for his actions and it will be no surprise if he does have the armband stripped from him.
Luiz only arrived through the Emirates doors in the summer, but on paper is one of the stronger candidates to be captain and is one of the senior players in the squad.
The 32-year-old has won major silverware during his career with the likes of Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica, so his winning mentality could help drive a dressing room that looks a bit stale.
He is a Brazilian centre-back that has done fairly well since his Arsenal arrival barring the odd individual error and could thrive in a captain’s role.