With Thomas Vermaelen’s departure to Barcelona after rotting on the Gunners’ bench for a year, manager Arsene Wenger has chosen his replacement.
32-year-old midfielder Mikel Arteta has been given the armband for the upcoming season. The former Everton midfielder has made over 30 appearances in each season since joining Arsenal in the summer of 2011.
Arteta was the vice-captain under Vermaelen, and defender Per Mertesacker has been given the vice-captaincy.
“One: Arteta and two: Mertesacker,” Wenger said following the Community Shield win over Manchester City. “Arteta will be captain and Mertesacker vice-captain.” There wasn’t much else on the subject.
Wenger passed on Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny, either side at the back of Arsenal’s strong defense partnership.
He skipped over Mesut Ozil, the team’s creative force up front who adapted to life at the Emirates quickly last season.
And he went by goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, Arsenal’s first-choice shotstopper since January of 2011 and leading them to top-four finishes in every year.
Arteta follows in Vermaelen’s footsteps, who was the vice-captain and promoted when Robin van Persie left for Manchester United.
The stone-faced midfielder has just one year left on his contract, but there are reports that an extension is being worked on. He can likely only expect a one-year deal, with Arsenal’s policy with players over 30 years old, which Arteta himself criticized last May.