Unai Emery says he’s yet to make a decision about who will be Arsenal’s club captain next season but, as was the case last season, he’s open to the role being shared between players.
The Spaniard appointed Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka as deputies to Laurent Koscielny ahead of the last campaign but it seems fairly likely the Frenchman will lose the armband in light of his decision not to join the tour of the USA.
With Cech and Ramsey leaving the club and Ozil not exactly high-up on Emery’s Christmas card list, it does suggest our Swiss midfielder could be in line for a promotion.
Asked about the issue ahead of tomorrow’s friendly with Bayern Munich, Emery told his pre-game press conference: “We spoke a little about this and last year we had Laurent, Petr Cech and Ramsey.
“At the moment, Koscielny has a contract with us but I think they are going to speak, the club and him, about whether he continues or not.
“We have players with the capacity [to be captains]. One is Granit. Last year also he played so much as a captain, and was like a captain in the dressing room.
“We also have Mesut and Nacho, and also other players, they can take this position also. I want from three to five captains in the team.”
For his part, Xhaka would be up for the challenge, but he, like the boss, thinks the dressing room needs collective leadership.
“It is not about the armband,” he told Arsenal.com. “We have to work well together on the pitch, out of the pitch and we have to work together, all of the players.
“If the club and the coach gives me the armband I will be happy of course. I will be very happy because it is something special. But it’s not my first time [to be a captain] because I have been the captain here, I was before in Germany and the national team as well.
He added: “Our leadership improved last season but this is not something you can change in one day. You need time and in my opinion, we are on a good way to create something special in the team as well.
“For everyone, last season was something new. We had new staff and we had to learn new ideas from the coach, but I think we did well.
“We lost the [Europa League] final, a big game for us, but it was the first year together. It’s the second year now together and I am looking forward to making a better season than last season.”
Xhaka’s attitude in training is known to have impressed the backroom staff and of the players on the pitch he’s usually the most vocal, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were handed the job. It would certainly be some coup for a player who is yet to convince many on the terraces that he’s right for a role in the centre of our midfield.