Arsenal: The 2 candidates for captain after Aubameyang

A club’s captain is often a reflection of the team. For over a decade, it was Tony Adams between 1988 through to 2002 before being replaced by Patrick Vieira for three years, and Thierry Henry took the reigns for two years. What was Arsenal seen as back then?

No one can argue that all three mentioned above had leadership qualities in abundance. They drove standards, were vehemently professional and played for the shirt. Lastly, they gave their all, lead by example, and more often than not, in tight spots when their team needed them, they came through with flying colors.

However, after this era, one can be forgiven for thinking that Arsenal hasn’t had a true leader to hold the captain’s armband in the Premier League. While Cesc Fabregas springs to mind as one who led by example as more often than not, the Spaniard was the difference whether Arsenal won or lost in his four-year spell as captain between 2008 and 2011.

Other names on the list are Robin van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, and Laurent Koscielny – before rounding off with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Who are the candidates to succeed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Arsenal captain once the striker departs Mikel Arteta’s side?

Each of the mentioned players all had their different traits when leading the team. However, an argument could be made that for all of them they were not necessarily the all-around leaders that the likes of Adams, Vieira, and Henry were. That is not to say they were not great leaders, but each player is different in how they assume that responsibility.

For Aubameyang, he lets his actions on the field do the talking and is not a verbal leader, as was Vn Persie. Both Mertesacker and Koscielny were central defenders and were more vocal. That is fine and for Aubameyang it seems to have worked so far but given his age, who is the next in line for the Arsenal armband?

Going through the squad, it is down to two players: Kieran Tierney and Gabriel. Both are extremely vocal on the pitch, let their actions on the field lead their teammates and the pair could be the fans’ choice to take over. Martin Odegaard will feel he is in the conversation as well.

However, what the fans think and what Mikel Arteta thinks are two entirely different things and you would not put it past the Spaniard giving Granit Xhaka the armband instead. He has shown previously that he is willing to give it to the Swiss international and while he does show some leadership qualities, he is too reckless and not dependable in certain situations. The City red card being one clear example.

When talking about Tierney, and also Gabriel, there is no doubting their commitment to the cause and their willingness to help push standards both on and off the field. Can that be said about Xhaka? Or anyone else in the locker room? That is up for debate.

Both would be a good choice for the next captain of Arsenal but in Arteta’s eyes could they be too young to take on such a title? Well, straight away the Fabregas appointment blows that out of the water. Cesc was just 21 years old when he succeeded William Gallas.

Tierney (24) and Gabriel (23) are older than Fabregas and many Arsenal fans would be in agreement that both have all the necessary tools to take the armband after Aubameyang. Whether Arteta sees that is another thing entirely.

But if Arteta and the club are serious about changing the perception, the culture, and changing the narrative surrounding the club, it is a no-brainer that either Tierney, or even wildcard Gabriel, should be next in line.