With the impending departure of current skipper Robin van Persie - the fifth out of the door in the past eight years - we ask who could fill the gap left vacant by the strikerPOLL
This is becoming quite a familiar tale for Arsenal fans, isn't it? A youngster comes through the ranks, proves his worth as he matures into a man, is handed the captaincy… and then sold.
With the news on Wednesday that a fee has been agreed with Manchester United for Robin van Persie, the Dutchman is set to become the fifth Gunners skipper to head through the exit door in the last eight summers.
Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, William Gallas, Cesc Fabregas and now Van Persie.
So who should take up the mantle next at the Emirates?
The obvious choice is current vice-captain Thomas Vermaelen. He was handed the honour in the recent friendly against Koln, and he certainly ticks many of the right boxes; highly dependable, tied down to the club for the foreseeable future, has previous experience of the role at Ajax, and, arguably, one of Arsene Wenger's most inspirational players behind Van Persie.
Fellow centre-back Laurent Koscielny is another possibility.
After a tough start to life at the Emirates, the 26-year-old has matured into one of the most reliable defenders in the Premier League – and has since been handed his France debut by then-manager Laurent Blanc. He penned a long-term deal with Arsenal at the end of July thought to be in the region of five years.
|7/5||Arsenal are 7/5 to finish outside the top four in 2012-13 with Paddy Power|
Wojciech Szczesny is an outside bet, but is a great option for a long-standing captain.
The young Poland international told media in his homeland of his desire last year to don the armband: "I feel that when I say something, everyone listens to me."
However, the 22-year-old's tender age and lack of experience, having only established himself as the first-choice goalkeeper last season, works against him.
And, finally, there is Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard has captained both Everton and Arsenal in the past – admittedly only as a stand-in – but it shows the faith shown in him by experienced managers David Moyes and Wenger.
A highly dependable player, rarely missing a game through injury, Arteta's name is definitely in the hat. But does his lack of experience on the international stage limit him? Or his sole season in the Champions League?
So, who should fill the gap that will seemingly imminently be vacated by Van Persie? Let us know by voting in the poll below, leaving a comment and getting touch via Facebook and Twitter.