Arsenal manager Unai Emery has spoken out over the captaincy situation at the club, amid concerns over a lack of leadership at the Emirates.
Koscielny’s shock decision
As has been widely-covered in the media, Arsenal’s previous captain, Laurent Koscielny, dropped a bombshell on the club earlier this month, when the Frenchman informed Unai Emery and co. that he would not be joining his fellow teammates on their pre-season tour of the US.
An official announcement across the Gunners’ website and social media channels regarding the situation read as follows:
‘Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel to the US for our pre-season tour.’
‘We are very disappointed by Laurent’s actions, which are against our clear instructions.’
‘We hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time.’
The reliable David Ornstein of BBC Sport subsequently provided an insight into Koscielny’s shock decision, citing Arsenal’s Europa League final defeat at the hands of Chelsea, and concern over the direction of the club as key.
The Frenchman is said to be eyeing a return to France, amid interest from the likes of Bordeaux, Rennes and Lyon.
‘Working with the captains’
This leaves Arsenal in a precarious position heading into the fast-approaching new season.
Koscielny was viewed by many as one of few natural leaders in Unai Emery’s squad, with the Arsenal boss now left with a difficult decision to make regarding who he feels is ready to step up and act as the linchpin in his side’s push to secure a return to the Champions League.
Speaking on the back of the Gunners’ disappointing preseason defeat to Lyon yesterday evening, meanwhile, Emery provided an interesting update on the situation.
The Spanish tactician confirmed that, as things stand, 3 players are viewed as captains in his squad. The trio in question are Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil and Nacho Monreal.
However, Emery is also eyeing ‘two more’ options to take the armband, with the captaincy pecking order set to be decided over the coming weeks:
‘We are working now with the captains. They are Xhaka, Ozil and Nacho Monreal. I want to add two more and then I am going to decide the number one, two, three, four and five in the next weeks.’
Quotes via Arsenal.com