Rio Ferdinand has pointed blame at Arsenal’s outcasts for “affecting the harmony” under Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners boss is under fire after a dismal run of form which has seen Arsenal collect just four points from their last eight matches.
Four successive defeats on home soil has increased the pressure on Arteta’s shoulders, but results on the field are not the only issues he has been tackling.
He continues to face questions regarding exiled superstar Mesut Ozil, while £27million defender William Saliba has hinted at his growing discontent at the club.
And Ferdinand feels the unhappy apples in the squad could be rotting Arteta’s dressing room from the inside out.
“I just think they’re lacking in harmony,” Ferdinand told FIVE YouTube channel : “We’ve seen the new signing, Saliba, talking to [Matteo] Guendouzi on social media. And obviously Mesut Ozil is on the sidelines as well.
“Mikel Arteta came in and bang, set my stall out, this is what is going on and these players aren’t playing.
“Now, if you do that and you are winning like he was earlier on in the season, then you don’t hear anything.
“You don’t hear any murmurs or mutterings behind the scenes from any players because you cannot say anything.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners have been starved of title glory for a while now – but things could be changing as a new-look Arsenal side plot a course to success.
You won’t miss a single thing on their journey if you sign up for the brilliant new Mirror Football newsletter, either!
From the latest transfer news to the agenda-setting stories, get it all in your email inbox.
New signings Gabriel Magalhaes and Thomas Partey have hit the ground running following their big money summer arrivals, and the new-look Gunners are going all out for a top four spot and Europa League glory this term.
The Mesut Ozil situation continues to hang in the background and there’s plenty going on in North London to keep abreast of.
Want to sign up and follow Arteta’s journey? Put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link.
“Once that changes and you start losing games and pressure starts mounting, then the people that aren’t playing start being a part of the group that maybe affects the harmony.”
Arteta has suggested Ozil could force his way back into first-team reckoning but remains ineligible after being omitted from the club’s registered 25-man squad.
While Ozil has been given some form of a lifeline, Arteta does not seem prepared to entertain the idea of offering Saliba a chance until the youngster has gained some first-team experience out on loan.
Saliba stirred up his situation at the club by messaging Guendouzi on social media suggesting he felt “locked up” like his old Arsenal teammate.
Guendouzi was shipped out to Hertha Berlin for the season after two bust-ups with Arteta, and it appears there is no way back for the Frenchman – a tactic Ferdinand believes Arteta may have to repeat.
“That’s why you either have to get rid of them and get them out of the building,” he said. “Or you have got to keep that door ajar and let them know there’s an opportunity, so they don’t become bitter and they don’t become people that want to talk in the media.
“I think it’s down to Arteta to handle that. He has to handle the dilemmas of the changing rooms.
How can Arteta turn things round at Arsenal? Have your say below.
“He has to handle the players that are playing but you also have to handle people are in and around the squad that aren’t playing every week.”
“That is where Sir Alex [Ferguson] was a genius,” Ferdinand added. “He made people feel 10 foot tall and they were subs or they were in the stands.
“He made them feel that he needed them or believed in them – that’s an area Arsenal are struggling.”