Mikel Arteta is in search of a new captain after stripping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of his captaincy on Tuesday
Arsenal legend Martin Keown has detailed the difficulty facing Mikel Arteta in choosing a new captain to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Arsenal. Keown believes that Kieran Tierney, Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale and Gabriel Magalhaes are all candidates for the role but they all face different obstacles to taking on the Captain’s armband.
Arsenal FC announced on Tuesday that Aubameyang has been stripped of the club’s captaincy and would not be in the squad for tonight’s clash with West Ham United. This is the latest escalation in the ongoing issues between the Gabonese striker and the club, having been recently omitted from the team due to disciplinary issues.
While the Gunners’ coach goes in search of a new skipper, Keown identified Tierney as the best option but states that the Scottish defender has had a strained relationship with the manager in recent times and this might impact his suitability for the role.
Keown said in his Daily Mail article: “Now Arteta has acted, he’s got the chance to select his own skipper. Under his management, I believe Kieran Tierney has been the standout player who could fulfil that role.
“But Tierney’s relationship seemed strained with his manager recently when he returned from injury and wasn’t brought straight back into the team.”
The Arsenal legend also noted that age and experience are some of the stumbling blocks to making Ramsdale, White or Gabriel the captain of the Gunners squad.
“There are other contenders, although for Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White and Gabriel, it feels early days in their development at the club. They’re all young, none of them older than 24, but then Tony Adams became captain at 21 so age shouldn’t work against any of these candidates,” Keown explained.
The 55-year-old football columnist stated that Arteta would have to be prepared for a possible blowback of his decision to change captains midway through the season, noting that it might have been better to leave Aubameyang’s axing till the end of the season.
The Arsenal legend explained thus: “It’s a bold decision by Mikel Arteta. Clearly the relationship had broken down to the point where he felt a change was necessary. Arteta inherited Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a captain from Unai Emery.
“I do feel a change in captaincy could have waited until the end of the season – the media-storm that this will create could distract to the group and for Aubameyang himself, there will be a great deal of humiliation and welcoming him back into the team will be difficult. It’s hugely important that he gets this call right. It will tell us a lot about he believes in the most out of this crop of players.”
Aubameyang is the latest in a long line of Arsenal players to have run afoul of the law under Mikel Arteta with Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi some of the recent players to be guilty of this. The Spanish manager has generally implemented a no-nonsense approach as both aforementioned stars have so far been shipped out of the club.