MARTIN KEOWN: Kieran Tierney is the perfect fit as Arsenal’s next skipper… but Mikel Arteta’s bold decision to strip Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the captaincy could have waited until the summer to avoid a media storm
- Mikel Arteta was brave to strip Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang of Arsenal captaincy
- My pick would be Kieran Tierney who has been the standout leadership figure
- But I feel Arteta could have waited to make this decision until next summer
- The ensuing media circus will distract the group and humiliate Aubameyang
It’s a bold decision by Mikel Arteta. Clearly the relationship had broken down to the point where he felt a change was necessary.
Arteta inherited Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a captain from Unai Emery. I do feel a change in captaincy could have waited until the end of the season – the media-storm that this will create could distract to the group and for Aubameyang himself, there will be a great deal of humiliation and welcoming him back into the team will be difficult.
But now Arteta has acted, he’s got the chance to select his own skipper. Under his management, I believe Kieran Tierney has been the standout player who could fulfil that role. But Tierney’s relationship seemed strained with his manager recently when he returned from injury and wasn’t brought straight back into the team.
Kieran Tierney (R) would be a good fit as Arsenal captain after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was stripped of the armband by Mikel Arteta (L)
Aubameyang was punished after a failing to return from a visit to France to see his sick mother
There are other contenders, although for Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White and Gabriel, it feels early days in their development at the club.
They’re all young, none of them older than 24, but then Tony Adams became captain at 21 so age shouldn’t work against any of these candidates.
As with Adams, Arteta may want to consider one of his younger players for a long-term role. Granit Xhaka is player Arteta has relied on strongly but he’s already had his time as Arsenal’s leader and the fans would see that as a backward step.
I felt the decision could have waited until the summer as this media storm could hurt the squad
With Arteta having been so clinical in removing the captaincy from Aubameyang, you assume he has a clear picture of the individual he feels is fit to fulfil this new role.
It’s hugely important that he gets this call right. It will tell us a lot about he believes in the most out of this crop of players.
To be captain of a club as big as Arsenal is a huge honour. For Aubameyang, the manager will be hoping that he can get him back into the fold as soon as possible and scoring goals, as he was when Arteta first took over the team almost two years ago to the day.
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