Times are changing at Arsenal, with a new manager in place and the Premier League season quickly approaching, it’s time to turn attention to potential captains.
Prior to the arrival of Unai Emery, the Gunners had found themselves in a bit of a slump, a slow running car calling out for a desperate need for change and a new source of firepower.
Arsenal, of course, got their man earlier this summer, and since then things seem to be going well.
It’s a premature assumption to say that Emery can change the club entirely, but the Spaniard’s start to life with the reds has been welcomed with open arms by the fans and seemingly the board, who have allowed their man to splash the cash this summer with several new arrivals.
So much is going on at Arsenal in terms of change, which makes a difference to the sometimes-stubborn previous regime.
With change happening so rapidly ahead of the new campaign, Emery has broken his silence over who could potentially be in favour of sporting the armband next season.
Speaking after Arsenal’s 5-1 pre-season victory over Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday, Emery opened some eyes as some surprising candidates emerged from the flames.
The former PSG manager selected newly-contracted Mesut Özil as captain for the game against his previous club and explained his decision after the win.
“We are working together and giving the responsibility to the players. I think he [Özil] can take the responsibility.”
Fan favourite, Özil, was never really considered as a potential captain prior to this decision. Arsenal’s new number ten, however, has shown his commitment to the club by extending his stay with the Gunners earlier this year.
The 29-year-old can influence games with his feet, but could there be another more vocally commanding side to the German that Gunners fans haven’t seen? We’ll soon find out.
Ramsey an option
Despite being given captaincy for the game, Aaron Ramsey has been one of the favourites to take on the duty, which was highlighted furtherly today as he took the armband from Özil when he was substituted.
The Welshman, who has represented Arsenal for 10 years, is a candidate and was commended on his leadership by teammate Alexandre Lacazette who said to Sky Sports “Aaron brings stability, quality and leadership”, and also branded the midfielder as a 'club legend'.
There are very few reasons as to why Ramsey couldn’t take the honour of being club captain, however, the elephant in the room is, of course, his reluctance to commit his future to the Gunners with a new contract.
People can talk, however, let’s not forget that last season’s vice-captain, Laurent Koscielny is still in Arsenal’s ranks despite suffering a terrible injury before the end of last season.
Emery confirmed that the Frenchman is one of those in question of taking on the role – as he did so many times last season – however, his fitness and potential game time is a hurdle that needs to be overcome.
Cech-ing in with experience
Petr Cech was another name mentioned in Emery’s post-match interview. There are very few currently in England that have more experience in the Premier League than the 36-year-old.
Cech has captained the side a number of times also, however after the signing of Bernd Leno was announced, it would be thought that his playing time may be jeopardised in the upcoming season.
With a big decision to be made by the club, the fact remains that Arsenal have been crying out of a consistently performing, commanding and committed captain for a long time.
It’ll be near to impossible to find someone that can follow the lead of former silverware-winning skippers Patrick Vieira and Tony Adams, however, there’s rarely a time when football surprises us.