Arsenal

Mikel Arteta has surprise new contender for Arsenal captaincy role after transfer masterstroke

The Gunners boss is expected to name a new captain ahead of the 2022/23 season and more options have appeared

Many things have improved on and off the pitch at Arsenal over the last year or so, but there’s still some uncertainty surrounding one thing – the captaincy.

The armband has been passed around a lot recently, with there being a ‘leadership group’ rather than one sole leader. Martin Odegaard, Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka, Rob Holding, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have all been given the role on numerous occasions, although the latter two have obviously now left.

It means there’s now an opportunity for someone to receive it on a more permanent basis moving forwards, and it’s something which could become clearer over the course of pre-season. Odegaard appears to be the overall favourite, while Tierney is also well respected, but concerns over his injury record may play a part in Arteta’s decision.

However, the good thing is that the Arsenal squad is arguably in the healthiest and most positive place it’s been in a very long time. The players are together, supportive of one another and possess a good attitude. Many of them could be leaders, and as Arteta looks to strengthen throughout the summer, more candidates can appear.

That’s exactly what has happened with the signing of Fabio Vieira. As I have learnt so much more about him as a player over the last few days, a lot has been said about his technical quality and attacking prowess, so I was pleasantly surprised also to find out that he has some leadership qualities too.

Reading an interview that Arsenal conducted with Portuguese football journalist Tom Kundert, it became clear that we’ve got a lot more than just a player who will score goals and provide assists.

“He’s pretty much the boss of that Portugal Under-21 team and has been for the last year or so,” Tom said. “It’s quite a thing watching him, pointing, telling his teammates where to go and organising the offensive setup. He does it very effectively as well.”

This will no doubt be one of the many reasons that Arteta wanted to bring him in. He has the versatility, the potential and the quality, but having some form of leadership can also go a very long way under the Spaniard.

Vieira having such a role at international level can be compared to Odegaard, who is captain for Norway. He may not have held a similar position at previous clubs, but he has for his country, and that has led to him becoming a leading candidate at Arsenal.

It must be said that the chances of Vieira receiving the armband at Arsenal next season are fairly low, considering he’s a newcomer and people are already ahead of him in the pecking order, but there’s absolutely no reason why the 22-year-old can’t follow in the footsteps of Odegaard and become club captain in the near future. It appears he has the necessary skill set to do just that.

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