Arsenal have had a number of legendary figures as their captain over the years.
The likes of Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams, Thierry Henry, Mikel Arteta have all had the armband and did extremely well in their capacity as the list continues to go on and on.
However, in recent years the Gunners have been crying out for an individual to lead the pack and get things back to how they used to be in north London – on top of the pile and getting their hands on silverware.
Leadership has been a real issue for Arsenal over the years and instead of going down the route of picking one individual to carry the responsibility, Unai Emery decided to give the armband duties to five members of the squad he inherited (Telegraph).
Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny and Granit Xhaka were all picked as players who could carry out the leadership tasks required – but 12 months down the line and the Spaniard needs to have a re-think.
The first two men have since left the club and the following three have all been linked with moves away from the club this summer.
Koscielny has been linked with a switch to Olympique de Lyonnais and reportedly has a two-year deal on the table according to Get French Football News. Ozil’s future is hardly secure after the publicised criticism he has received whilst Xhaka had been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid, although it is suggested they could appoint him as the main man to fend that interest off from the Spanish side.
And, in regards to the final man in the trio, the Switerzland international is probably in the best position to become Emery’s main captain next season.
Xhaka has already openly spoken about being handed the role and what it would mean to him by telling Blick (via Metro): “Would I be incredibly proud & like to lead the team as captain? Absolutely, but I try, even without the armband, to be a leader & take responsibility.”
Now, it seems the 26-year-old is already saying the same things, but would he be suited to the role on the pitch when it matters? You bet he would.
Firstly, he has the personality and characteristics necessary to be a captain and the type of leader Arsenal are desperate to have. Never shy, he has a no-nonsense attitude and will tell his team-mates exactly what he needs to in order to make them better and is always seen shouting at them on the pitch. Xhaka has the experience of leading his national side as well, so that should play right into his hands.
Note, we are not comparing their ability here, but he and Vieira are very similar in a positional sense and in regards to their ability to read the game. The Swiss star, who is valued at £40.5million by Transfermarkt, can sit in front of the defence or play slightly further up, putting him in a position of the field where his whole team will be able to hear what he has to say. He also appears to have matured as the years have gone by, although his aggression can let him down at times, which would make him better suited to the role than perhaps others could be.
According to Squawka, Xhaka had some of the better stats in the side with his all-around play as he made the most successful passes (1916) and had the most touches of the ball (2784), whilst he also shone with his defensive duties when required – he was third in the whole squad for making tackles (52) and interceptions (36).
Admittedly, he is error-prone and does have a bit of a hot-head at times, however, with the options that Emery currently has at his disposal, perhaps there are not many better than Xhaka at the club at the present moment.
Arsenal fans, do you think Xhaka could be the next main captain for the club? Let us know your thoughts below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!