Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has handed midfielder Granit Xhaka a leadership role in the squad three years after he was stripped of the captaincy.
Former boss Unai Emery took the armband away from Xhaka in 2019 after he was seen swearing at Arsenal fans who were jeering him as he left the pitch and his future has been full of uncertainty ever since, with Roma heavily tipped to sign him last summer.
To Xhaka’s credit, however, he was worked tirelessly to rebuild his reputation under Arteta, who named Martin Odegaard as his new permanent captain earlier this summer.
Xhaka took the armband from Odegaard when the latter was substituted in the dying embers of the opening day victory over Crystal Palace, and The Athletic state that he has been formally put forward by Arteta for a leadership role at the club.
The manager has been impressed by Xhaka’s attitude and sees the Switzerland international as a natural alternative to Odegaard in the captaincy role, with new signing Gabriel Jesus also part of this leadership group.
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Xhaka and Arteta are believed to have a very positive relationship and it was the boss who convinced Xhaka to stay at the club last summer when the chance to link up with Jose Mourinho at Roma was a serious option.
The idea of a leadership group has been a prominent part of Arteta’s reign at Arsenal. A number of players were given that responsibility last season after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy, with a formal replacement not named until Odegaard was appointed this season.
Alongside Odegaard, Xhaka and Jesus, Arteta plans to speak to more of his senior players in an attempt to share the responsibility in the dressing room.