Mikel Arteta may have changed his mind over Arsenal captaincy amid Alexandre Lacazette promotion

Mikel Arteta has already made one decision regarding the Arsenal captaincy and he may have hinted at another following the 1-0 win over Wolves.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had started the season in permanent possession of the Gunners armband but was stripped of the honour at the beginning of December for a repeated disciplinary issue.

And it took until after Gabon international had left the club – joining Barcelona on a free transfer during the January window – for Arteta to name his successor – well at least for the next three months.

To the surprise of very few, it was announced on Wednesday morning that Alexandre Lacazette will remain captain for the rest of the season.

“Laca is the captain at the moment yes,” the Arsenal manager confirmed in his pre-Wolves press conference.

Now, Lacazette is unlikely to be in possession of the Arsenal captain’s armband for too long as his contract expires in June and there’s talk of him rejoining Lyon on a free transfer.

Therefore, Arteta will need to name another permanent captain ahead of the 2022/21 campaign with him seemingly hinting that Kieran Tierney is in line to get the nod after what happened in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Lacazette has named Gabriel Magalhaes, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Benjamin White as three other candidates to become the next Arsenal captain.

“There are some future captains,” he told Arsenal.com “Gabriel, big Gabi, has got presence, leadership at the back. I think when he’s going to be more fluent with English, it will help a lot.

“Ben White as well, he’s more quiet maybe, but by the way he plays he can be a good leader and maybe with edge can build up.

“Sambi Lokonga, but he’s already been a captain in the past so it’s not hard to say he can be a good captain. Kieran as well because I think he’s been a captain as well in the past for the national team a few times. You can see some future captains, or leaders.”

Arsenal were captained by Alexandre Lacazette in the 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers. (Image: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal were captained by Alexandre Lacazette in the 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers. (Image: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

But with Lacazette being promoted to the main role, for the time being, there’s an opening for an Arsenal player to step into the vice-captain role and against Wolves a hint may have been dropped as to who it will be.

Having worked his socks off upfront on his own and missing two big chances to get on the scoresheet, the Frenchman was replaced by Eddie Nketiah with nine minutes to go.

This meant the captain’s armband had to be passed on.

Despite Tierney and Granit Xhaka being on the pitch, it was Rob Holding who took possession of the armband having replaced Bukayo Saka 10 minutes earlier as Arteta reacted to Gabriel Martinelli’s sending off.

Considering Xhaka lead Arsenal out in Aubameyang’s absence at the start of the season against Brentford and Chelsea, it appeared he was unofficially the vice-captain.

Furthermore, the fact he finished the Man City game at the beginning of the year wearing the armband after Lacazette was substituted and with Holding also on the pitch at the time added more weight to this argument.

So judging by Arteta’s decision at Wolves, he may have changed his mind about who is the Arsenal vice-captain.

As previously reported by football.london, last season a new leadership group was to be selected based on a mixture of the longest-serving and most experienced players at the club to help Arsenal’s bid to return to the Champions League.

Among those tipped to be included was Holding and he’s gone on to captain the side from the start on numerous occasions this season – most recently against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup.

With that said, the fact the 26-year-old is by no means a regular under Arteta, it could very well be Xhaka who takes over the armband the next time Lacazette is replaced.

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