Vermaelen to retain Arsenal captaincy

Arsene Wenger did, however, make no promises over his position in the starting XI, and the Belgium international will miss the start of the season with an ongoing back problem
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed Thomas Vermaelen will remain as club captain this season.

The Belgium international's future has come under scrutiny after he lost his place in the starting XI in 2012-13 due to the form of fellow centre-backs Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.

Vermaelen is currently missing from Arsenal's pre-season tour of Asia with an injury that could keep him out of the start of the season, but Wenger insists the 27-year-old is still in his plans.

When asked if he would still be captain, the Frenchman said: "It depends. I cannot stick with him now because I think he will miss the start of the season.

"But certainly, he will still be club captain.

"He had a back problem. He came in with it and he couldn't practice until now. He's out for how long we don't know.

"There is nothing behind that at all (losing his starting place). There is no bad feeling because he didn't play at the end of the season. It's just an unfortunate injury."