Granit Xhaka was appointed Arsenal’s club captain last week following a secret ballot by the players which was later signed-off by head coach Unai Emery.
While the Swiss probably wouldn’t win a popularity contest with supporters, the important thing is that a decision has been made and the midfielder has the respect of his peers within the squad.
Xhaka, who also holds the armband for his country and was captain of former club Borussia Moenchengladbach, the latest appointment is another reason to be proud.
Speaking about his newly confirmed role, the 27-year-old told Arsenal.com: “I’m very proud. It’s made me very happy because when I came here, I had a lot of experience before with the Switzerland national team and I was the captain in Germany as well.
“When I came here, there were a lot of great players, good personalities, and it was a big step for me to be the captain here as well. Now I’m the official captain here and it makes me very proud to be the captain of this great club.”
Asked how the election process played out, Xhaka continued: “The coach asked us to write five names, who we wanted to be the captains.
He added: “Everything was discreet, so there were no names. You only wrote the five captains. In the end, I think the team, the players and of course the boss, decided who would be the first captain out of the five.
“Of course it’s important that the other players believe in me and see how I work, how much I work. I’m a guy who wants to take all the players in one boat. We win together, we lose together, we win trophies together or we lose finals together, like in Baku.
“It’s important that all the players – not only the players who play but the other players as well – are invited into our group to be happy, to speak with us if there are any problems. This is the role of a captain, to be strong and to be in front of the team. I think I’m a guy like this who can be in front of the team during the good times and the bad times.”
Whatever your thoughts on Granit’s ability to hold down a role anchoring the Arsenal midfield, it’s probably time to give him our support. As we all know, holding the captaincy during the Emirates era has been something of a poisoned chalice. More often than not, the elasticated cloth has preceded a long injury or a desire to quit the club.
We wouldn’t want that.