Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that midfielder Mikel Arteta will take the captain’s armband for the upcoming Premier League season, with Per Mertesacker acting as his deputy—per London Evening Standard’s James Olley:
Wenger confirms Mikel Arteta as #afc captain for the season (he's out of contract in the summer). Per Mertesacker named vice-captain.— James Olley (@JamesOlley) August 10, 2014
Arteta commented on the decision:
Great to lift another trophy and a massive honor to be named CAPTAIN of ARSENAL FC!!Lets have a great season!! pic.twitter.com/JnwATZthzw— Mikel Arteta (@m8arteta) August 10, 2014
With former skipper Thomas Vermaelen now calling the Nou Camp home, the question of who will lead the Gunners’ pack in 2014-15 was hot on fans’ lips, but Wenger has now answered them by labelling the Spaniard the right man for the job.
The announcement came during the Arsenal boss’ post-match press conference after he saw his side trounce Manchester City 3-0 in the Community Shield, and it hardly comes as a surprise.
Vice captain last season, Arteta led the Gunner for the majority of the campaign with Vermaelen out of favour in defence, and he did so with authority.
His tenure as full-time skipper didn’t exactly get off to a bad start, either, lifting the Community Shield at Wembley and putting on a superb performance to boot—as the club’s official Twitter feed revealed:
The 32-year-old has just 12 months remaining on his current deal and his age doesn’t do his bid of being a long-term skipper any favours, but as Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail revealed, contract negotiations are now underway.
Many fans were calling for Welshman Aaron Ramsey to be made the new skipper after showing his leadership last term, but Arteta’s experience just gave him the nod.
The former Everton man will be hoping to use said experience to orchestrate another successful season for the Gunners, and he told BT Sport that he expects them to be challenging for more silverware—via London Evening Standard:
I think we're looking very good with some very good signings so that's only going to strengthen the team. We worked really hard in pre-season and hopefully we're ready to start. When you look at the bench and all the options we have to change the game, as I said, I hope it's going to be a good season. We ended last season well with the FA Cup so hopefully we'll continue well.
The news signings that Arteta speaks of have made the air at the Emirates more optimistic than ever, and based on the Community Shield, fans have every reason for their hopes to be up.
A stable captain that’s unlikely to miss many matches will also aid the club’s bid for glory, and as has been said many times this summer, it’s an exciting time to be a Gunner.