- Arsenal Captain’s Arm-Band has been riddled with injuries, ill-behavior and club departures
- Henry, Fabregas, and Van-Persie among the club’s captains who left the club
- Aubameyang, the current captain, is reportedly set to leave
Speculation continues to surround Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s future at Arsenal with reports suggest that the Arsenal has placed a £50m price tag for declining to renew his contract.
This mirrors a series of past events that have hit the North-London outfit and it would appear the curse of the Arsenal captaincy is not only very real but actually extends back into the mid-2000s.
The 30-year old Gabonese international was appointed skipper after Granit Xhaka was stripped off the armband following his meltdown last year and with speculation surrounding his future at the Emirates appearing dim, Sports Khusoko takes a look at the ‘curse of the armband’ at Arsenal:
Thierry Henry (2005-2007)
The irreproachable club legend and leading goal-scorer took the armband from Patrick Vieira ahead of the 2005-05 campaign. The prolific Frenchman would carry the team all through to the UEFA Champions League in 2006 when they lost to Barcelona. In the summer of 2007, Henry would join Nou Camp having only scored 10 goals for Arsenal during the previous campaign that was plagued with injuries and constant speculation about his future at the club.
William Gallas (2007-2008)
Gallas would take the armband from Henry in a move that club legend Jens Lehmann once admitted that they could not believe that Arsene Wenger had made him captain. The French defender was already a sacrilege by wearing the iconic number 10 shirt that was once donned by Dennis Bergkamp. The unreliable defender would be stripped of the captaincy for his infamous on-pitch tantrum during a clash against Birmingham City.
Gallas would then join Gunner’s archrivals Tottenham Hotspurs on a free transfer.
Cesc Fabregas (2008-2011)
Fabregas would take the reign at Emirates Stadium from Gallas. The Spaniard donned the armband with confidence and sheer delight wowing the Arsenal faithful with his talented skills in midfield. He would carry the skipper’s role for three seasons before he tore an ACL, went on strike and forced a move to his boyhood club Barcelona.
Robin Van Persie (2011-2012)
The flying-Dutchman stepped into captaincy in the wake of Fabregas leaving during the 2011-12 season. In a move that many felt was a blatant effort of the club holding onto the lethal striker amidst departures from the team by other key players like Samir Nasri. Robin would leave the following year and joined Manchester United.
Thomas Vermaelen (2012-2014)
The Belgian defender with a dynamite left-foot would take from Robin at the club’s helm. Vermaelen would then suffer multiple and repetitive injuries during his two seasons as captain before he shipped out to Barcelona.
Mikel Arteta (2014-2016)
The Spaniard stepped into the breach during the 2014-15 season but again almost immediately succumbed to injury- making only six league starts in his maiden year as the club’s captain and then none in his second season. The Spaniard however led Arsenal to its first competitive trophy, FA Cup triumph, since 2005.
Per Mertesacker (2016-2018)
The Big German Defender would take from Arteta and the injury hex continued into 2016-17 and 2017-18 restricting the World Cup winner to just four league starts over the course of the two prevailing seasons. Per retired on high with an emphatic 2017 FA Cup win over Chelsea having not started a single match in that season.
Laurent Koscielny (2018-2019)
The Frenchman took from the retiring German as the club’s captain. Koscielny had been Arsenal’s dependable captain popular among fans and teammates attracting admiration from neutrals for his commitment.
He would captain the Gunners in a tumultuous campaign that would see him ultimately refuse to join the rest of the team on a pre-season tour as he demanded to leave the club. In the video announcing his signing for Bordeaux, Koscielny took off his Arsenal shirt to reveal the Bordeaux kit underneath.
Granit Xhaka (2019-2020)
The appointment of the Swiss international was not a popular choice in terms of fan support with most of them questioning Unai Emery’s decision. They would let this known during the team’s home fixture against Crystal Palace when they booed him as he was substituted. The 27-year old would shout expletives at the fans before taking off his jersey as he stormed away.
Unai Emery would then remove him as captain and appointing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2020-to date)
The Gabonese international has been in sizzling form this season, scoring 20 goals in 32 appearances this season. Last season’s golden boot winner is two goals behind Jamie Vardy in this campaign’s race to the golden boot.
The 30-year old Gabonese international is approaching his last year at the North-London outfit with efforts of getting him to sign a new contract continue getting slimmer. Talks of an extension at the Emirates are reportedly stalling due to his wage demands that are upwards of £300,000 a week.
His major concern has been that Arsenal may miss out on the Champions League with the Gunners having an outside chance to the top-four slots despite lying ninth in the league.
Will he stay or will he join the list of predecessors who have left? Only time will tell.