Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Per Mertesacker will be the club captain for the new season.
Despite the fact the BFG suffered a serious knee injury last month and won’t play again until 2017, the Arsenal manager has not gone back on a decision he made earlier in the summer.
In the programme for tomorrow’s Premier League opener against Liverpool, Wenger said, “He is a very respected figure in the dressing room and is a very demanding figure as well.
“I think it is absolutely natural for him to take the role. He is injured at the moment, but he will have two or three assistants who will take up the baton.
“These will be the experienced players like Laurent Koscielny, Santi Cazorla and Petr Cech. We will have a group of people that will take care of the energy levels and the team’s problems, and that’s a job for the senior players.
“We are all here to serve the club and rise above our own personal interests. Per has played many games and he has a fantastic mentality. He has a great mental stature that is absolutely remarkable.”
Wenger’s decision was backed by players like Mesut Ozil, who said, “I always see Per as a role model. He’s very focussed, very professional,” and Koscielny who remarked, “The player who is most helpful is Per. He always talks with the other players and tries to help them give their best for the team.”
The idea of collective responsibility, on and off the pitch, is a good one, and without that archetypal Tony Adams style captain in your side, it makes a lot of sense to share things around.
However, the Arsenal captaincy is something of a poisoned chalice these days. Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta stricken by loss of form and injury which meant they hardly played, while Mertesacker’s absence with his knee problem means the club captain and the on-field skipper are often very different.
Still, the BFG is a wise, experienced head, and with Cech, Cazorla and Koscielny as back-up, we’re pretty well covered.