Since August 31st, the aforementioned job of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s understudy has been empty, thanks to Hector Bellerin’s loan move to Real Betis during the summer transfer window.
Xhaka captained Arsenal in the absence of Gabon international and Bellerin for the first two games of the season, which were against Brentford and Chelsea.
Although Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has not named the central midfielder as the Spaniard’s replacement for the vice-captain role, images from the first-team squad’s photocall at London Colney all but confirm this.
Arteta appears to have already determined that Xhaka will be the new Arsenal vice-captain, based on the seating arrangement in the squad photocall.
At least for this season, unless Bellerin commits to Betis permanently next summer.
The captain and vice-captain generally sit on either side of the manager, so seeing Aubameyang and Xhaka flank Arteta almost confirms the midfielder’s new role.
Xhaka was on the verge of joining AS Roma during the summer transfer window, but the deal fell through because the Serie A side’s offer did not meet the Gunners’ value of the midfielder.
As a result, Arsenal activated a clause in Xhaka’s existing contract that will keep him at the club until 2024, with an option to extend it for another year, and Arteta stressed the importance of the midfielder in the dressing room.
Meanwhile, Kieran Tierney may have been an ideal alternative for Bellerin as Arsenal’s vice-captain, particularly because Arteta has previously identified Tierney as a future starter.
According to Goal, Arteta said, “I think he can be Arsenal captain because he has the respect and adoration of every member of the staff and every player.” “It’s just his personality. “He is also a very quiet youngster, but he represents all of us in the club; all of the ideals that we want to instill and are in the DNA of our club,” says the coach.
Tierney’s path to becoming Arsenal captain may have included taking over from Bellerin as Aubameyang’s understudy this season, but it appears that Xhaka has been given the opportunity instead.