It’s simply a formality, but following the retirement of former Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta, manager Arsene Wenger has promoted vice-captain Per Mertesacker to captain, according to Goal.com on Monday.
Arteta was out most of last season with various injuries, and the German defender captained the side in his stead for most of the campaign, and is therefore the obvious choice. Fellow center-back partner Laurent Koscielny took the armband for a few matches as well, and will be named vice-captain.
However, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion given the leadership experience of many in the squad. Koscielny himself had a shout. Goalkeeper Petr Cech will act as reserve captain, and Theo Walcott will line up as fourth in the pecking order.
It could be seen as a forerunner to a new deal, as the German is out of contract after next season, however at 31 years old, it’s also possible that this is his final season at the Emirates, with Wenger known for being incredibly selective about handing out contracts to those over 30.
Mertesacker has been at Arsenal since moving from Werder Bremen on deadline day in 2011, making 207 appearances for the Gunners, including 149 in the Premier League and another 33 in the Champions League. He has been a fixture in the German national team as well, making his debut in 2004 under Jurgen Klinsmann and holding 104 caps for his country.