‘Arsenal captaincy vote was a farce!’ – Merson slams ‘pathetic’ process as Xhaka lands armband
Arsenal’s captaincy ballot has been branded a “farce” by Paul Merson, with the former Gunners star considering it “pathetic” that a vote was required to see Granit Xhaka passed the armband.
Unai Emery has favoured leadership groups across his coaching career to date and had implemented a similar system at Emirates Stadium.
He has, however, decided that the role of skipper should be more prominent for 2019-20.
Switzerland international midfielder Xhaka topped a blind ballot in north London and will now be charged with the task of taking on added responsibility.
Merson is baffled as to why such a process was required, with the former Gunners star suggesting that Emery should have made the call himself and plumped for “serial winner” David Luiz.
“Why is Unai Emery asking his players to vote on who should be captain? It’s pathetic. Seriously. Make a decision!” Merson said in the Daily Star.
“When you start worrying about what your players think, you’re in trouble. And why does he need five captains anyway?
“Arsenal are one of the biggest clubs in the world but I don’t think he’s got a clue what his best team is.
“Granit Xhaka started off captain but he’s not a foregone conclusion to start every week. So I’ll tell you someone who should be – David Luiz. And that’s why he should be captain.
“Not as one of five either, but on his own. People look at his mistakes when they should be looking at what he’s won.
“The guy is a serial winner. Yes, he’s either a nine out of 10 or a four out of 10 every week, but he never hides, whatever happens. I like that. That’s leading by example.
“Why not make him captain? He always comes across well and he was always a good influence on the young players at Chelsea. He was a leader there.
“It’s a big deal being captain of a big club. To have a ‘leadership group’ of five players just devalues it. It’s like you don’t trust anyone enough to do it on their own.
“And asking players to vote is asking for trouble. What if they don’t take it seriously? It becomes a farce.
“It wouldn’t happen in a Sunday league team. I’m surprised he doesn’t give the fans a vote as well!
“Arsenal have had some legendary captains in the past, but it’s also a sign of how the game has changed that he’s chosen to do this.
“It’s quicker, more technical. But there aren’t as many leaders any more. When you look at the Invincibles, there were leaders everywhere in that team. Patrick Vieiria, Emanuel Petit, Sol Campbell. Big characters.”
Arsenal’s first outing since holding a captaincy poll will take them to Old Trafford, with Emery’s men set to take in a meeting with old adversaries Manchester United on Monday.