Granit Xhaka has backed Martin Odegaard to become Arsenal’s next captain as Mikel Arteta looks to name a new permanent skipper.
The Arsenal captaincy has been an ongoing issue plaguing the club for some time now. The problems started during Unai Emery’s second season when the Spaniard named Granit Xhaka as the club skipper and later stripped the Swiss midfielder after the incident with fans during a game against Crystal Palace at the Emirates.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was then named captain, and since the Gabon star’s departure in January, Alexandre Lacazette has worn the armband. But with the Frenchman is now out of favour under Mikel Arteta, who prefers Eddie Nketiah to lead the line, Martin Odegaard assumed the role, wearing the armband for the last four games.
Arteta is looking to name a permanent captain this summer and wants one of the leaders in the team to become the skipper. Xhaka’s name has been mentioned in recent weeks after the Swiss star affirmed his commitment and suggested he will not be leaving the club during the summer window.
Odegaard is also in the mix after a brilliant season under his belt. He has garnered plenty of praises from all over. He already captains the Norwegian national side and has plenty of experience in the game despite only being 23-years-old.
Xhaka has backed the prospect of Odegaard becoming the captain, insisting the Norwegian is the future of the club. His comments appeared on Football London, as the Swiss star insisted the attacking midfielder has what it takes to take the armband permanently for next season.
Xhaka said: “He is the future of this club. He’s already captain when Alexandre Lacazette does not play. He can be very proud of himself. You can see how far he has come in his head, mentally. He is very young, only 23, but in how he behaves and is on the field, he looks like he’s 30. It looks like he has already played 500 or 600 games. He can definitely become Arsenal captain.
“He has the DNA in him. He works as hard every day as if he were in a fight. He does a lot of extra work. He is humble. Everyone in the dressing room listens to him. Why not?’”
Naming a full-time captain will be Arsenal’s next task after Arteta signed a new deal at the club, which keeps him until 2025. Apart from that, the Gunners will also have to sort out a few contracts for players like Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka in the summer to secure their future and then move on to their recruitment plan to strengthen the squad in the next window.