Photo credit: AFP.

Current club captain Per Mertesacker will retire at the end of the season. Arsenal will be looking for a new leader on the pitch. In recent years, Arsene Wenger appointed players that did not end up starting matches week in and week out.

Who came before?

Prior to Mertesacker being named captain in 2016, Mikel Arteta was club captain for two seasons. In these two campaigns, the Spaniard managed just 16 total Premier League starts.

Barcelona center back Thomas Vermaelen was Arsenal’s captain for two seasons and struggled to stay on the pitch. The Belgian international made just 14 league appearances in the starting XI during the 2013/14 season.

In fact, you would have to go back to Cesc Fabregas’ reign in north London from 2008-2011 to find an Arsenal captain that made more than 20 Premier League starts in consecutive seasons. The instability in leadership has contributed to Arsenal’s inconsistency issues in recent memory.

Whether Wenger returns for his twenty third season, the Gunners need to have a captain that is regularly on the pitch.

Makes the most sense

While Jack Wilshere is a decent choice for captain, Aaron Ramsey makes the most sense as the club’s next captain. Ramsey is 27 years old and has already captained the Wales national team. He was demoted after 19 months because of the overall team performance. Since then, the Welshman is a different player than he was 6 years ago.

Ramsey is averaging 40 total appearances a season over the last 6 years at Arsenal. He is certain to be included in any starting lineup Wenger puts out. He is also one of the club’s more consistent players in recent years. Indeed, the midfielder is a mainstay in the starting XI. Ramsey has racked up an impressive 34 goals and 33 assists since the start of the 2013/14 season. In both domestic and European competitions.

What does Arsene say?

Earlier in the current campaign, Wenger was full of praise for Aaron Ramsey stating he, “is an excellent player and very important for us,” the Frenchman exclaimed. He went on to add, “Let’s hope he can continue that run because he is a guy who drives the team forward in a relentless way. He can go from the first to the last minute and has the engine to do both sides of the game and that is what we want.”

Contract to captain

His current contract is set to expire in the summer of 2019. This may be an obstacle in the way of appointing Ramsey as the next captain. The Gunners need their captain to remain with the club for at least the next few years to help bring some stability on the pitch.

Securing Ramsey with the club past 2019 would not only tie down one of the top central midfielders in England’s top flight, but should also ensure the Welshman’s captaincy. He has now been with the north London outfit for nearly a decade. He knows the club as well as anyone else currently in the side and is their most consistent and most experienced player.