Martin Keown narrows down next Arsenal captain to two players and rules out two others

Arsenal strip Aubameyang of captaincy over ‘disciplinary breach’

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Arsenal legend Martin Keown believes the choice for the next Gunners captain is between two players. Mikel Arteta stripped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the captaincy on Tuesday following a disciplinary breach last week. Speculation has now started over who could be the striker’s replacement as skipper.

Arteta said at his press conference on Tuesday that he will look to his leadership group to captain the team.

That includes Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka and Rob Holding.

But Lacazette is out of contract at the end of the season and Xhaka has already had the armband taken off him in the past by previous boss Unai Emery.

Keown cannot see Xhaka getting the captaincy again on a permanent basis, despite Arteta’s clear faith in the midfielder.

He also reckons left-back Kieran Tierney, who has not always been a regular starter in recent weeks due to the form of Nuno Tavares, won’t be selected.

Keown instead believes centre-backs Ben White and Gabriel will be top of the list.

“I think it’ll be Ben White or Gabriel,” Keown told talkSPORT.

“I can’t see it going to Granit Xhaka and Arteta didn’t bring Tierney back into the team [straight away after injury].

“I don’t know the group well enough as men but one I’m looking at as a leader is [Aaron] Ramsdale.

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“He’s a fan favourite, he wears his heart on his sleeve but he’s a goalkeeper but I’d rather it be someone in the engine room.

“Arteta must have a clear vision of who that captain is going to be.”

Keown believes Arteta could have waited until the end of the season before stripping Aubameyang of the captaincy.

“It’s a bold move from the manager,” Keown added.

“I did kind of feel that this might be left until the summer.

“It might be too disruptive to the group and to the club – too much noise to do something like this now… I’d have left it until the summer.

“If Arteta felt that Aubameyang had the characteristics to be that leader of the group and that was never in question then he might’ve rode this storm.

“But I think it’s deeper than that. I don’t think he believes he’s the leader of the group, the right captain.”

Meanwhile, former Arsenal captain and Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira has urged the Gunners to get the next appointment right.

“I think as a manager you always want your captain to be one of the leaders, I’d say,” Vieira said.

“A positive leader — on and off the field. You want the captain to set the example.

“Obviously, the captain always has to have a special relationship with the manager.

“But to have that, you need to be a positive leader.”

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