Arsene Wenger has named centre back Per Mertesacker as the new Arsenal captain, despite the German being out injured.
With Mikel Arteta retiring from football after the end of last season to go into coaching, Arsenal needed a new captain and Wenger has decided that Mertesacker will wear the captain’s armband this season when he’s back healthy.
The 31-year-old German is expected to be out until the end of the year with a knee injury, and in his absence the armband will be worn by Santi Cazorla, Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny according to Wenger.
“Per is a very respected figure in the dressing room, is loved as well, and is also a very demanding figure,” Wenger said.
“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 Koscielny, also Cazorla and Cech maybe – the experienced players.
“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.”
Mertesacker has made over 200 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions since joining the club back in 2011. The towering German was injured in a preseason game against RC Lens, and won’t be back until mid-December according to Wenger.
In addition to Mertesacker being out, Arsenal will be without Gabriel (injury) and Koscielny (rested) as they take on Liverpool in their season opener on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium.