Per Mertesacker Set to be the Next Arsenal Captain
Since I started supporting Arsenal in 1998, I’ve seen the club successfully transition the captain’s armband from one player to another. Captains like Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira lived, ate and breathed Arsenal, and you could see how much playing for the club meant to them. The mere fact that Adams has a statue of him tells the true story of how much the club adored him.
After the Adams / Vieira dynasty came the reign of the King himself, Thierry Henry. There is no better player that donned the famous Red and White like King Henry, but his leadership was questioned when he made the decision to leave the club at the time he was needed the most. Wenger swiftly made the decision to hand the armband over to Henry’s deputy, Gilberto Silva. The Brazilian featured consistently as the captain but he lost his place in the squad to Mathieu Flamini and was shipped out to Panathinaikos afterwards.
Then Wenger made the most awkward decision ever – giving the armband to new signing, William Gallas, when a certain Kolo Toure would have been touted as the next best thing. For obvious reasons, Toure left to the petro-greens of the Etihad but Gallas reign as captain was a tumultuous one before eventually losing the band to the club’s prized asset, Cesc Fabregas.
Thanks to his Barcelona DNA, Fabregas left in 2011 and the captain with the Little Boy inside him also departed the club in rather acrimonious circumstances. The band was given to the Belgian Verminator that looked like a beast in it but his injury problems were too much and he eventually lost his place in the squad. With Vermaelen leaving to Barcelona (what’s with them and taking our captains?), it was time for Mikel Arteta to do the honors and he will be forever remembered for his influence in the dressing room and his selflessness on the pitch.
At the ripe age of 34, Arteta has hung his boots and has began a new adventure in his career with Manchester City, but the void of the captaincy is expected to be filled. According to NBC Sports, Per Mertesacker is set to be named as the new Arsenal captain, as he’s going to be promoted from his current role as vice-captain. His defensive partner, Laurent Koscielny, is set to be named as the new vice-captain.
He moved to the club on transfer deadline day five seasons ago and he has made 207 appearances for the club, including 149 in the Premier League and 36 in Europe. He has scored eight goals for the team, including that all important equalizer in the FA Cup semifinal against Wigan two seasons ago.
I wish the BFG well in his new role as Arsenal captain. Long may he reign.
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