Arsenal have had issues with captaincy for quite a while now. For some reason the selected captain gets injured for a good spell of time, has discipline issues or just decides to leave the club in a controversial manner.
Unarguably Arsenal’s last decent and stable captain would be Patrick Vieira who led the club during the 2003/2004 season were the club won the League title unbeaten. Despite spending just three seasons as club captain, the Frenchman is remembered as one of Arsenal’s most iconic leaders.
Arsenal’s greatest captain in the Premier League era would of course be Tony Adams one of Arsenal’s greatest ever players having spent the entirety of his almost two decade long career in North London, Adams was an inspirational leader behind a series of the club’s greatest triumphs.
With his leadership qualities evident from a young age, Adams was appointed as the club’s captain aged just 21, before going on to achieve the notable feat of being a title winning captain in three separate decades.
Thierry Henry widely regarded as the greatest player in the club’s history, Henry inherited the armband from compatriot Vieira following the midfielder’s departure for Juventus in 2005.
The club’s all-time record goalscorer was typically inspirational during his first season wearing the armband, however, winning the Premier League’s Golden Boot with 27 goals and being named as the Football Writer’s Footballer of the Year. Henry opted to leave the club in 2007 for Barcelona no silverware was lifted during his time as captain.
Arsenal’s next captain after Henry’s departure was William Gallas which was quite a downgrade his reign as captain was marred by controversies and tantrums before his move to Tottenham completely ruined his popularity.
After Gallas’s short stint, Cesc Fabregas was given the arm band. Despite his form he was unable to inspire Arsenal to any silverware and in 2011 departed for Barcelona just like Henry.
In the 2011/2012 season Robin van Persie was given the arm band and he had a stellar season scoring 37 goals in all competitions before his notorious transfer to rivals Manchester United, some fans are yet to forgive him for this.
Thomas Vermaelen succeeded Van-Persie in 2012 however, injury problems hampered much of Vermaelen’s time he eventually lost his place in the side to Mertesacker and Koscielny. He was the captain when Arsenal ended their trophy drought and lifted the Fa Cup in 2014 though he was an unused substitute in the victory over Hull City.
That brings us to Mikel Arteta the current head coach, Arteta’s reign begun well as Arsenal won the Community Shield he however missed the 2015 Fa Cup final due to an injury. His second season was similarly disappointing as he featured infrequently.
Per Mertesacker just like Arteta was worthy of the captaincy role, however he struggled for playing time and fitness though he managed to start the 2017 Fa Cup final. Laurent Koscielny became Arsenal’s skipper after Mertesacker’s retirement a reward for a great servant Koscielny also struggled with various injuries but managed to lead Arsenal to the Europa League final last season before his surprising and dramatic exit.
Unai Emery selected Granit Xhaka as the captain for this season and in October during a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace Xhaka stormed off the pitch after jeering the fans and uttering an obscene chant. This led to many questioning Emery’s decision which might have led to his downfall.
Before Emery’s sack Aubameyang was promoted from vice captain to captain and it appears history could repeat itself with news circulating that Aubameyang won’t be signing a new deal and will be sold instead.
That brings us to the question who should be Arsenal’s next captain? Who has leadership and discipline and won’t disappoint the club?
Leno has been at the club since 2018 and this season he has proved to be a force to reckon between the sticks saving Arsenal on numerous occasions. Leno can provide leadership from the back and seems passionate about the club.
Bellerin has been at the club since 2011 and is a regular starter at right-back he has worn the armband on a number of occasions however speculations continue that he could leave the club.
Arteta could gamble and name the 19 year old captain. Saliba has shown that he is a future leader and a commanding defender, why not trust him with the mantle.
There aren’t many options to consider because most of the players have either recently joined the club or have some speculation regarding their future but personally I would name Leno as the captain and eventually after a season or two I would pick Saliba after seeing him play.