Next Arsenal captain: Four main contenders with Mikel Arteta position in doubt

Mikel Arteta played just seven times for Arsenal in the Premier League this season, and with the midfielder now 33 years of age, the time may be for Arsene Wenger to consider another permanent captain.

The veteran Spaniard has struggled with injuries throughout the campaign. In addition, he could find his return to the starting lineup blocked regardless of fitness, for Francis Coquelin would surely be first choice in the deep-lying role after a superb breakthrough season for the Gunners this year.

With that in mind, a new Arsenal captain is at least worth considering over the summer.

Thomas Vermaelen did remain Arsenal skipper in his final year with the club, despite rarely playing, and it may be that a similar fate awaits the club’s current leader, with Per Mertesacker taking the armband in his absence this term.

Per Mertesacker

Per Mertesacker may be the automatic contender to be officially named Arsenal captain next season, with the German centre-back looking a good leader for the club in games this term.

Still, with a poor performance against AS Monaco leading to some calls that he should be replaced in defence, and Gabriel looking better with each game he plays, the 30-year-old German may be another player who may be phased out of Arsene Wenger’s first-team.

Aaron Ramsey

Another possible contender for the armband is Arsenal’s main man in midfield, Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman, 24, would be a better long-term option than Mertesacker and has the potential to really grow into the role as the team’s main leader.

Ramsey has been with the club since he was 17 and has also captained the Wales national team, showing he has potential for a more senior role in the side. Injuries and some inconsistent displays have worked against him this season, however. Ramsey’s also a player more likely to lead by example than vocally, and would probably not be the man to quel media cries for a dominant personality in the Gunners dressing room.

Laurent Koscielny

A defender who seems more certain to keep his place in the Arsenal starting lineup, Laurent Koscielny may be another option worth considering as well as Mertesacker. The Frenchman has been a highly consistent and passionate player for the Gunners since joining from Lorient in 2011, and would be a popular choice among the fans at the Emirates Stadium.

Jack Wilshere

An outside bet perhaps, but Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is a passionate, homegrown player who loves the club and should be with them for as long as he’s wanted. He’s certainly not lived up to his potential yet, of course, but that’s largely due to struggles staying fit.

It may also be a bit early to be talking about him as the immediate choice to lead the side, though there’s always the chance that the added responsibility of the armband would see him raise his game.

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