Why this man is the right choice to be Arsenal's new long-term captain

Per Mertesacker

Arsenal may well be looking for a new permanent captain next season, and Per Mertesacker is the best man for the job.

Two days ago we brought you a story about former Arsenal player Ian Wright and his comments regarding Mathieu Flamini.

Speaking to the BBC’s 606 programme, Wright said, “I had a chat with him, and at some stage he has to be the Arsenal captain. He has the drive to really go on and do something.”

That article prompted this one, because rather than Flamini, I believe Arsenal have another player who should be the long-term replacement for current club captain Thomas Vermaelen.

The Belgian defender has barely played this season, and it would be no surprise if Arsene Wenger gave the armband and the permanent title to someone new for the next campaign.

And in my eyes that man should be Per Mertesacker.

The German international’s signing was questioned by some when he first arrived in North London. But he has now become a vital part of the Gunners’ squad, forming an impressive partnership with Laurent Koscielny.

While Flamini has been integral to Arsenal’s early season success since his return from AC Milan, Mertesacker gets my vote for a number of reasons.

As a centre-back he can see the game ahead of him, and it could be argued he is the heir-apparent to Tony Adams.

He also rarely misses a match, starting (and finishing) all but two of Arsenal’s league matches this season and all eight of their Champions League games to date (including their two qualifiers).

Mertesacker also has an outstanding disciplinary record, having received just three bookings in all competitions all season.

Contrast that to Flamini, who has only recently returned from a suspension following his dismissal against Southampton.

The German also leads by example and is a class-act at the heart of Wenger’s defence.

For those reasons alone I believe it is he who should take the permanent captaincy starting next season.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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