Arsenal news: Unai Emery makes Granit Xhaka permanent captain following consultation with players – reports

Arsenal news: Unai Emery makes Granit Xhaka permanent captain following consultation with players – reports
Football

Granit Xhaka is Arsenal’s new permanent captain, according to reports.

The midfielder, 27, is understood to have been given the role following a players’ vote, which Gunners defender Rob Holding confirmed was taking place.

Xhaka has been at Arsenal since 2016

Getty Images – Getty

Xhaka has been at Arsenal since 2016

The news of the club’s next captain is not expected to be announced until Arsenal’s pre-match press conference at 2:30pm on Friday.

However, well-respected journalist David Ornstein has claimed that Switzerland international Xhaka is the new skipper.

The role of vice-captain has yet to be decided but it is understood that this role is between forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

Ornstein tweeted: “Exclusive: Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has named Granit Xhaka as permanent captain.

“Consulted players before relaying final decision to squad this morning.

“Xhaka has led #AFC in 6/8 games this season + turned 27 today. Vice [captain] not finalised, hearing between Lacazette and Aubameyang.”

Emery introduced a pool of five captains following his appointment as manager last summer, but his original choices did not last long due to the departures of Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech and Aaron Ramsey.

Xhaka turned 27 on Friday and Arsenal tweeted a special birthday shout out to him earlier this morning.

However, the tweet received a mixed response from Arsenal fans, with some even calling on the club to sell him.

He got jeered at by some Gooners during their narrow win over Aston Villa last weekend for his performance.

Xhaka is a player who divides opinion

Getty Images – Getty

Xhaka is a player who divides opinion

However, Arsenal legend Ray Parlour has jumped to Xhaka’s defence in recent weeks, saying he is a ‘decent player’.

Parlour responded to former team-mate Martin Keown’s criticism of Xhaka for giving away a penalty during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham earlier this season.

Parlour told talkSPORT: “Xhaka is good on the ball, he’s decent!

“He can spray passes 25 or 30 yards no problem, he’s very good at doing that.

“Sometimes he fits in and keeps it simple, but at the weekend [against Spurs] he didn’t have a good game.

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“You know when you’ve not had a good game as a player and I’m sure he knew that at the end but he’s got to get back now, he’s skipper, he can’t let it worry him.

“Xhaka has just got to calm down sometimes, he’s got to be a bit cleverer, you’ve got to be clever as a player.

“When you’re captain you can’t make mistakes like he did and give the other team opportunities to score goals.

“For the penalty, it was a really poor decision from him to go in like that. You can’t just dive in like that. He’s got to learn from that, he’s got to be a bit more disciplined.”


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