Who should be named Arsenal’s next captain?
With Granit Xhaka's position as Arsenal skipper looking untenable right now, which player should be handed the armband next?
1) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
The Gabon international has been a massive hit since joining the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 for a then club-record £56million, scoring 39 goals from 59 Premier League appearances, while he has also netted 11 times in the domestic and European cups combined.
Aubameyang, who shared the Golden Boot with Liverpool’s duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane last season, is in the hunt for the accolade once again, having found the back of the net seven times to sit just two goals behind Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy.
There is no doubt about the 30-year-old’s quality in front of goal but does he have the leadership qualities required to captain Arsenal? Interestingly, Unai Emery asked the players to vote on who they wanted as skipper this season, with Granit Xhaka coming back as receiving the highest amount of votes.
Aubameyang then came in second with a large proportion of the votes and it would seem like a no-brainer to hand him the armband. The forward’s appointment would go down well with the squad and avoid any players potentially getting upset by a different person being named captain.
2) Hector Bellerin
At 24 years of age, Spanish right-back Bellerin is one of the longest-serving players at Arsenal, which may highlight the issue in a squad that lacks lots of experience, but he is a firm fans’ favourite and his appointment is likely to go down well with supporters.
The Barcelona-born star initially joined the Gunners’ youth ranks in 2011 from the Catalans before making the step up to the senior ranks in the 2014/15 campaign, where he has gone on to make 143 Premier League appearances.
Bellerin’s recent injury problems will be a slight concern and this could work against him if Emery does indeed decide to replace Xhaka as captain. The defender suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament on his left knee in January and was ruled out for nine months, keeping him out of the start of the current seasons.
The Spaniard has also thrown his support behind Xhaka, calling for everyone to pull together and forgive the midfielder for his actions when getting subbed against Crystal Palace.
We are all humans, we all have emotions, and sometimes it's not easy dealing with them. It's time to lift each other up, not to push each other away. We only win when we are together. #COYG pic.twitter.com/dkDI7M3xew
— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) October 28, 2019
3) Rob Holding
This would be a bold decision by Emery but Holding’s stock has risen massively over the past couple of seasons. Arriving from Bolton Wanderers in July 2016, the centre-back has been handed limited opportunities but he has grown in stature over the past couple of seasons.
Like Bellerin, the Englishman is 24 years of age but the Gunners have not been afraid to appoint a young captain, with Tony Adams given the armband in March 1988 at the age of 22.
Holding has also had issues with injuries over the past campaign but his appointment would be a signal of intent from Emery, proving the manager is not afraid to give a young player the extra responsibility.