Martin Odegaard has been confirmed as the new captain of the Arsenal first team, replacing the departed Alexandre Lacazette in the role.
The Arsenal captaincy has been a problematic position in recent years. In 2019, Laurent Koscielny pushed to leave and successfully joined Bordeaux. He was replaced as skipper by Granit Xhaka.
The Swiss midfielder would only last a couple of months in the role, though. He infamously confronted and swore at supporters booing him off the pitch during a match in October 2019.
Consequently, he was stripped of his captaincy duties, which were handed over to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The striker led the squad for the remainder of the 2019-20 season and the entirety of the following campaign, in which his form dropped off. Aubameyang subsequently left for Barcelona halfway through the 2021-22 campaign.
Arsenal next gave the armband to fellow attacker Alexandre Lacazette. But he left a few months later at the end of his contract. Hence, Mikel Arteta – himself a former Arsenal skipper – had to find a new leader in his group.
Many pundits pushed forward Odegaard as a suitable candidate. Indeed, the former Real Madrid man wore the armband for the last eight Premier League games of the 2021-22 season.
He had already captained his country on a permanent basis since March 2021. Now, the Norwegian has been confirmed as the next incumbent of the Arsenal captaincy.
After making the announcement, which credited Odegaard’s “huge impact” since joining the club, Arsenal promised further reaction after the conclusion of their pre-season friendly against Sevilla for the Emirates Cup on Saturday.
Martin Odegaard a sensible choice as Arsenal captain
Odegaard has made 60 appearances for Arsenal since joining them on an initial loan deal from Real Madrid in January 2021. Since then – during which time he made the move permanent as well – he has contributed nine goals and seven assists.
At only 23 years old, he still has a bright future to strive for. His contract with Arsenal lasts until 2025, so this decision should bring some stability.
That is something Arsenal have been lacking when it comes to the captaincy for a few years. After making progress on the pitch last season to finish fifth in the Premier League, adding another degree of certainty cannot harm.
Odegaard recently revealed he would be happy to take the Arsenal captaincy, but knew it was not up to him to decide. Now, Arteta has chosen him as his new leader, so he can go into the new campaign with extra responsibility.
Maybe it can bring the best out of an already talented player, who can up his game further ahead of an intriguing season at the Emirates Stadium.