Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit out at “bullshit” reports that his promotion to Arsenal captain has created controversy within the club.
Aubameyang replaced Granit Xhaka as skipper at the Emirates Stadium last week after the Swiss midfielder was stripped of the armband because he insulted fans when he was substituted against Crystal Palace last month.
Coach Unai Emery explained that his decision to hand the captaincy to Aubameyang was based on his “experience and he has the respect in the dressing room”.
Emery added: “He was the top scorer last year in the Premier League and also I know he needs time to take that responsibility 100 per cent. But we are going to support him.
“Every player, we are going to support the four captains, and we are going to support him as our first captain because he has also made one extra step to achieve that responsibility.”
However, The Athletic reported the forward’s promotion to captain had “divided opinion” inside the club.
Meanwhile, the former Borussia Dortmund star is said to have “irritated” some within the team because he has developed a close relationship with the controversial fan-run YouTube channel AFTV.
Aubameyang, 30, who is on international duty with Gabon, dismissed the reports on Instagram on Monday.
“I just arrived in Gabon and heard [sic] a lot of b******t,” he wrote.
“I talk with who I want whenever I want and if somebody’s not happy with… you already know.”
The message was followed by an emoji of a raised middle finger.
Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League, eight points outside the top four, and are winless in five games in all competitions.
Their dismal run of form and has put Emery and many of his players under pressure, prompting many fans and pundits to call for the coach to be sacked.
But the Gunners’ head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham voiced their support for the 48-year-old during a staff event on Monday.
“We are as disappointed as everyone else with both our results and performances at this stage of the season,” said Sanllehi and Venkatesham.
“We share the frustration with our fans, Unai, players and all our staff as they are not at the level we want or expect.
“Things need to improve to meet our objectives for the season, and we firmly believe Unai is the right man for the job, together with the backroom team we have in place.
“We are all working intensively behind the scenes to turn things around and are confident we will.”