Thursday, 4 August 2011

Possible Captain Replacements

At the current time of writing, it is still not certain that Cesc will leave. The situation is pretty much the same as it has been all summer, and we will accept a bid that we see as being acceptable.

Inevitably Cesc will accept the contract offer and he will move on, both parties may not be "happy" but the situation will be resolved. The only thing that's changed since the start of the summer is that we've dramatically lowered our asking price - by about a third in my opinion. But since this "issue" is far too complex to even think about properly, let alone blog about means that is the last I will say on the matter for now.

One thing is certain though, if Cesc does leave, we will need a new captain. Some people even think that if he doesn't leave he shouldn't be captain anymore, and throughout his reign as leader many have cast doubts over his quality in that position. Moving on though, here I am weighing up the possible candidates to follow the greats such as Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams and George Graham who have previously worn the Arsenal armband.

Jack Wilshere - The first name to come into my head is Jack Wilshere. Jack has been a revelation over the last 18 months, progressing from a Carling Cupper reserve player to Premier League first team at Bolton, then going on to start at Arsenal and England and putting in brilliant performances against the worlds' best. He doesn't seem phased by anything either, and has slotted into the squad like a man twice his age.

In the latter stages of last season, as first-teamers crumbled into their shells Jack stood tall and held his ground, running twice the distance of other players despite his clear signs of fatigue. In pre-season, after a much needed summer of rest, Jack has continued to shine in the absence of Cesc and Nasri and in most games looked like he was leading the team already.

Wilshere is the archetypal English player, and wears his heart on his sleeve, not afraid or intimidated by anyone on the pitch. His rise into the first team showed up other players lack of desire, which has been a key attribute missing over the last few years. He's surely a captain for the future, but this summer may come too early for him.

Thomas Vermaelen - Vermaelen was sorely missed last year, the lack of defensively stability, experience and overall leadership and organisation in defence contributed significantly to our unsuccessful title challenge.

Thomas has excelled since he joined Arsenal and when fit is unquestionably one of the best defenders in the division. Despite not being physically imposing, he is more than capable of holding his own against any defender or striker. Defenders are known as great captains, being in the heart of the action and able to see the whole pitch in-front of them.

Having been Captain before at Ajax and for the Belgium national team, Thomas knows exactly what is needed to lead and has exceptional ability in organising the defence and leading by example. Also, when previously mooted over possible captaincy, Vermaelen responded saying:
"It gives me a good feeling, being captain, If the coach turns round and says you’re the captain it’s a big honour for me."
Vermaelen would be a popular choice in the squad and among supporters, and I think is best suited to the job. Even if he doesn't get the armband, he will be leading the team in some way or other.

Robin Van Persie - If Fabregas does go, Robin will be our best player and arguably our only world class player too. He is into his prime now too, and his statistics for last season, or more accurately the half of the season he played, are second to none.

Van Persie is the current Vice-Captain and has done OK so far when called upon to wear the armband. He hasn't been spectacularly vocal, but like Cesc does he leads by example and is amply respected by other members of the squad. If he does not get the armband, he may well be offended and Arsene will be unwise to upset such a key player, especially with his contract issue (Robin will be in the same situation as Nasri is now next summer)

He is not a classic captain figure, but is capable of growing into the role - just as he has admirably grown in the centre forward role over the last few years. A question mark will remain over how many games he'll be able to feature in, but hopefully he can put that all behind him.

Aaron Ramsey - Not many players boast the CV of Aaron Ramsey, even though he's had to suffer over a year of injury after been assaulted by a stupid thug. F.A cup finalist at 18, transfer to one of Europe's biggest teams that same year and captain of his country at 21.

Ramsey showed his fighting spirit in coming back so quickly after that "challenge" and was brilliant as we best United in May. He oozes class with every touch and may well be the play Wenger turns to in a bid to replace Cesc, which is a big sign of trust.

He may only be an outsider, but there have been more surprising things known to happen in football before.

Other candidates could be a new Centre-back signing (if we ever sign one) as all Samba, Cahill & Jagielka have brilliant leadership skills. Thomas Rosicky is probably our most experienced play too, but will be unlikely to be made captain as he won't be in the first team. 

An incredibly unlikely move would be to install Sagna as Cesc's replacement. The best right back in the Premier League is the pinnacle of consistency and will always be in the first team. However the armband may be a distraction from his game, and he has no previous captain experience.

Who would you have as Arsenal captain? Have I missed any other possible candidates? Let me know what you think.


  1. Arsen and Arsenal Must and Must find ways to keep players. We lost Viera, Then Henry then Ces in the way out. Choose Jack will be next Barca or Millan target and Arsenal will keep on watching as if nothing has happened

  2. I agree to some extent, we do seem like a "selling club" especially at the moment. But I don't think Jack will leave, he's a true fan of the club.