SWITZERLAND, SEPTEMBER 27 – Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has named midfielder Granit Xhaka as the club’s new permanent captain.
Emery informed the squad of his decision this morning, ahead of Monday’s trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Xhaka has led the side in six of their eight games in all competitions this season – but Emery was yet to make final decision.
Emery consulted with the players before relaying the news that Xhaka will take the armband on a full-time basis.
The Swiss international turned 27 today and succeeds Laurent Koscielny, who left Arsenal for Bordeaux in the summer.
Emery is still deliberating over a vice-captain, with forwards Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang understood to be the leading contenders.
Earlier on Friday, the Standard UK reported thatUnai Emery is set to confirm his Arsenal captain today, with Granit Xhaka the firm favourite to land the role.
Emery has been looking to appoint a new skipper since the summer after the Gunners’ previous captain, Laurent Koscielny, was sold to Bordeaux.
Finally today, nearly a month into the season, Emery has confirmed who he had chosen.
The midfielder has been the front runner for the role since the summer and he has regularly worn the armband this season.
Xhaka has come under criticism from supporters, but defender Rob Holding revealed this week he remains a strong character in the dressing room.
“I think he is a great leader and just another positive person to have in the changing room,” said Holding.
“He is very demanding and makes demand of us. He puts accountability on ourselves, which is important as a leader.”
As well as confirming his captain today, Emery was also due to announce the other members of his leadership group.
The Spaniard favours a system of having five captains and last season Koscielny, Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Petr Cech were trusted with the roles.
However the departures of Cech, Koscielny and Ramsey has forced Emery to restructure his leadership group and it was revealed this week the squad had a blind vote on the matter.
Players were offered the chance to put forward their suggestions, with Emery taking their views onboard when selecting his five captains