Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has appointed striker Alexandre Lacazette as the club’s captain until the end of the season.
The Frenchman has been standing in as captain since ex-captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was ostracised from the team due to a disciplinary breach back in December 2021.
Aubameyang was eventually forced to leave the team for Barcelona on the deadline day of the January transfer window, where he has now settled and has begun the race to play regular football again.
Lacazette wore the armband for most of Aubameyang’s absence from the Gunners’ matchday squads but on occasion, Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Magalhães, Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale have worn the armband. Arteta took his time to decide who will lead the team on the pitch for the rest of the season and confirmed earlier on Wednesday that Lacazette will be the team’s captain.
Arteta will have to keep looking for a replacement, however, as Lacazette is set to leave the Emirates at the end of the season, having chosen not to renew his contract which ends in June.
The 30-year-old striker is expected to return to Olympique Lyonnais, the club from where he signed for Arsenal back in 2017.
All four of Gabriel, Ramsdale, White and Tierney who have previously worn the armband in Lacazette’s absence, are candidates to take over from Lacazette when he departs the club in the summer.
The quartet of Gabriel, White, Tierney and Ramsdale will also form a part of Arteta’s leadership new group which he created when he was given the Arsenal job.
The La Masia-trained Arteta brought over the culture of leadership groups to his role which saw members of the squad being appointed as liaisons between players, coaches and the club’s hierarchy.
His former leadership group consisted of Willian, David Luiz, Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Xhaka is the only surviving member of that group and is also going to remain a part of the new leadership group.
Arteta was at the forefront of Aubameyang’s ostracism and eventual departure from the club in December and January. The 32-year-old Gabonese striker, now at Barcelona was asked about the circumstances surrounding his exit from the Emirates, and he claimed that Arteta was the problem.
“I think it was a problem just with him [Arteta]. I can’t really tell you much. He wasn’t happy and that was it. I can’t say anything else because that’s what happened. I wasn’t very happy and I’m better this way,” Aubameyang said.
After clearing the air on Arsenal’s new captain, he spoke on the issue ahead of the Gunners’ trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.
“It’s his opinion. That’s his opinion, that is what he said and you have to respect that,” Arteta said.
“I am grateful for what Auba has done at the club and his contribution since I have been here. The way I see myself in that relationship is the solution, not the problem.
“What I am saying is that I’ve been this solution, 100 per cent, I can look in the eye of anybody.
“I do lot of things wrong, for sure. But the intention all the time is the best – and not for me, it is for the club and for the team.
“I think it ended up in the best possible way for everybody. I think when things change, and the context changes and this is part of football.
“And what we did yesterday or a month ago is not relevant, it’s about what we do today and what we are going to do in the future. You have to make decisions. We all made the decision that the best thing was to move on and now he plays for Barca.
“We had different meetings and the decision was taken collectively between the player, the club and agent.”
Arsenal are currently sixth in the Premier League on 36 points after 21 matches, two points ahead of their next opponents, eighth-placed Wolves.