Following a conversation he had with Mathieu Flamini on the night of Arsenal’s 0-0 draw with Manchester United earlier this month, Ian Wright declared that the Frenchman had to be the Gunners’ captain one day.
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.”
I have to say I disagreed with Wright. I felt that of all the current Arsenal side, it was Per Mertesacker who was the best option to replace Thomas Vermaelen as the permanent and long-term captain at the Emirates.
But Flamini has now given an interview with the club’s official website, and he may be swaying my opinion.
“When I play with any of the boys in midfield I have to sit in front of the defence and do the dirty work but I enjoy doing it,” he said.
“My pleasure is to give them the possibility to attack and, when we lose the ball, to get it back as quickly as possible.”
That was something Arsene Wenger’s side certainly missed when his countryman was suspended earlier this season. And you sense that had he been on the pitch, Liverpool would not have found the net five times at Anfield in the match that cast doubts over the Gunners’ title aspirations.
But he is now back, and as vocal as ever.
“It’s good to have someone who gives you some help, someone to talk to, it is very important,” he went on.
“I am trying to help my partners, to speak to them and also get them to speak because football today is all about communication.”
Flamini is saying all the right things if he does want to be the permanent holder of the armband under Wenger. And as much as I felt Mertesacker was the best option, his teammate makes a strong case, both through his performances on the pitch and in what he says off it.
A partnership of the German defender and the French midfielder, with one as captain and one as a very able deputy, seems the most likely outcome. Now it is up to Wenger to decide which is which.
image: © wonker