When Mikel Arteta finally announced his departure from Arsenal, fans were more concerned with who would take over his duties as captain rather than his position in midfield.
Although the Spaniard had been a terrific servant for the Gunners over the course of five seasons, his incessant injury problems had seen his first-team duties wither away. Indeed, the arrival of Mohamed Elneny in January appeared to push Arteta completely out of the picture as far as playing was concerned.
Having spent much of his last two campaigns on the sidelines, Per Mertesacker had worn the armband on matchdays so it is no surprise to see the German defender confirmed as the new captain of Arsenal.
The club tweeted the news on Saturday morning, just one day before their Premier League campaign gets underway against Liverpool. However, Mertesacker won't be able to take on his new duties because, just as Arteta was for much of his captaincy, he is injured.
The 31-year-old suffered a serious knee injury in a preseason friendly match against Lens and is set to miss much of the first half of the campaign. Unsurprisingly, then, fans have questioned Arsene Wenger's decision to give the armband to another injured star.
Take a look at some of the reaction below
Luckily, fans who are unhappy with the choice already know exactly why Wenger made it. He has explained why Mertesacker was the natural choice for the role.
He told Arsenal.com: “Per is a very respected figure in the dressing room, is loved as well and is also a very demanding figure. I think it is absolutely natural to be [him].
“[In his absence] that’s where it will be taken by the assistants. One of them will be [Laurent] Koscielny, also [Santi] Cazorla - the experienced players - [Petr] Cech maybe.
“We will have a group of people that will take care of the energy levels and the problems of the team. That will be down a lot to the experienced players.”
With Koscielny also out of the game against Liverpool, it leaves the armband floating between Cazorla and Cech. There is no guarantee that the Spanish midfielder will start against Jurgen Klopp's men so it is likely Cech, who only joined the Gunners last summer, will lead the players out.
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