Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira believes midfielder Granit Xhaka has been treated harshly by supporters of the club and has urged them to show the Swiss international more respect.
Since then he has been stripped of the captaincy and hasn’t featured for the Gunners, with rumours he could be set for a January transfer.
But Vieira, who is now manager of Ligue 1 side Nice, has sympathy for Xhaka’s situation.
“I feel sorry for him because he’s going through a really different period and really difficult time at Arsenal ,” Vieira said. “But I think we have to remind ourselves that he’s achieved a lot since he’s (been) at Arsenal and he deserves a lot of respect.
“When you’re a player and don’t perform the way you expect, you get frustrated about yourself. And sometimes you say things or do things you regret.
“I find it really difficult a lot of ex-footballers have jumped on him and being really negative towards him – it’s too too easy.
“I know how good he is and he will come through this difficult period because he’s a strong man, he’s a good player. And he will show how good he is.”
Vieira is impressing at Nice, who are currently 13th in Ligue 1, and has been linked with a return to Arsenal to replace the struggling Unai Emery as manager.
But when asked about the rumours he said: “If it’s my dream to coach Arsenal or France? Yes, like any player, when we do this job we want to touch the very high level.
“But the very high level I can touch with Nice from the moment we give ourselves the means to succeed and from the moment the way which we work is quite consistent.
“But we do this job, and I do this job, to one day to be the coach of a team that participates in the Champions League.”