Vermaelen named Arsenal captain

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Thomas Vermaelen has been named the new captain of Arsenal in the wake of Robin van Persie's departure to Manchester United.

Arsene Wenger made the announcement at his pre-match press conference this morning, ahead of the Gunners' Premier League clash against Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium.

The central defender has been promoted from vice-skipper after Van Persie completed his long-anticipated £24million move to Old Trafford. Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta will take over as Vermaelen's deputy.

"It is Vermaelen and Arteta," confirmed the Frenchman. "Vermaelen was vice-captain, so it is a quick decision. I think we have many potential captains in the squad but at the moment it will be like that."

Speculation suggested that Wenger may hand the armband to injury-plagued midfielder Jack Wilshere, but he has instead turned to the 26-year-old Belgian international, who has himself struggled with injury since arriving in north London from Ajax, in a £10million deal in 2009.

Wilshere has, though, been confirmed as the club's new number 10 - the shirt previously held by Van Persie - after Arsenal today confirmed their squad numbers for the forthcoming season.

Summer signing Lukas Podolski will wear number 9, Santi Cazorla will take number 19, and Olivier Giroud has the number 12 shirt.

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Thomas Vermaelen
Premier League

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