As his absence continues following his spat with Arsenal fans, former Gunners striker John Hartson has offered his advice to Granit Xhaka on how to win the fans over.
The 27-year-old reacted angrily as he was jeered off when substituted in the clash with Crystal Palace on October 27 before removing his shirt and storming straight down the tunnel.
While he issued a statement days later to offer an apology of sort but to mostly explain his actions and the abuse that he has received from some supporters, Xhaka has not yet featured for Arsenal since that incident.
Further, Unai Emery has since confirmed that the captaincy has been passed on to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and as noted by BBC Sport, the Spanish tactician has even suggested that he doesn’t know if the midfielder will play for Arsenal again.
In the event that Xhaka does see a future in north London, Hartson has offered his advice to the Swiss international on what he must now do to overcome his problems with the Arsenal fans and mend that relationship to ensure he can still be part of the side moving forward.
“You win the fans back by being humble, being professional and putting in wonderful performances,” Hartson said, as quoted by The Mirror. “He’s a good player, he’s been playing for Arsenal for a number of years, and now he has got to take on a strong mentality to rise to the occasion.
“Sometimes you have to find an inner strength, deal with what you’ve done, don’t sulk and move on rather than throwing your toys out of the pram.
“Yes, he will get a tough time from supporters initially, but this is where he’s got to go and show the character that got him the captaincy in the first place.
“Arsenal is never about one person or one manager. The club will be there in a hundred years, it is bigger than one player.”
Hartson went on to add that he agreed with Emery’s decision to strip Xhaka of the captaincy, but while he does paint a positive picture in terms of the Swiss international potentially having a future at Arsenal, it remains to be seen whether or not the respective parties involved in the matter share that same vision and intend on sticking it out together.
Based on Emery’s comments in the BBC report above coupled with the fact that Xhaka seemingly still isn’t ready to play, the January transfer window could be an opportunity for the two parties to split if they consider that to be the best solution.