Mikel Arteta will face a major dilemma in the summer.
Who will be Arsenal’s next permanent captain is certain to become a talking point over the next few weeks, and emerging as a strong candidate – if not the outstanding choice – is Martin Odegaard. At 23, he is already Norway’s national team captain and has worn the armband for Arsenal this season.
The issue has arisen because Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was captain, and yet he left in January to join Barcelona. Alexandre Lacazette has worn the armband since, but the former France international is out of contract this summer and his future is uncertain. Arsenal boss Arteta has made it plain that he would like Lacazette to stay and the Frenchman is a popular figure and leader in the dressing room.
But goals have dried up, Arsenal have been reluctant to offer more than one year and his former club Lyon are offering a big deal. That does leave Granit Xhaka who is Switzerland captain, has played well this season but there is history here. Xhaka lost the captaincy in 2019 after a spectacular fall out with the fans.
Frankly, Xhaka has won back the trust of the fans, he is still a leader even without the armband and deserves nothing but respect for the way he has conducted himself since – and also the way the club have helped him rebuild his image and respect. But, having said that, it would still be hard to imagine him getting it back.
There is Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale and you could even make a case for Bukayo Saka; intelligent guy, best kid on the playground theory, too. But the popular choice among fans, the hierarchy and his team-mates would be Odegaard.
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He is liked because, despite being at Real Madrid, there is no attitude about him. He is very humble, a nice guy, normal, polite and respectful to staff. He already does the road for Norway.
You can see his passion and leadership on the pitch. He has carried it well when he has been asked and, furthermore, he has really upped his game this season. He has embraced the armband and played well with it on his shirt.
Clearly, Arsenal are going to sign players this summer. Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus would be a good deal. They may need more than one forward and a midfielder is also required. But as things stand and if Lacazette does end up going, the smart money is on Odegaard to be the next captain.