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Per Mertesacker set to be named new Arsenal captain


GOALEXCLUSIVE

Per Mertesacker is set to be named Arsenal captain ahead of the new season, Goal understands.

The 31-year-old German international, one of the most experienced players at the club, will be rewarded for his loyalty by being handed the armband after Mikel Arteta retired from football to take up a coaching role at Manchester City.

Mertesacker's central defensive partner Laurent Koscielny will be given the vice-captaincy, while Petr Cech and Theo Walcott are alternate options if the former two aren't on the pitch.

Despite being out of contract at the end of next season, Mertesacker is a trusted member of the squad and is the 'chief fine collector' at Arsenal's London Colney training ground for players who commit misdemeanours including being late to training.

Talks over an extension for Mertesacker have yet to begin and manager Arsene Wenger is keen on bolstering his defence by signing highly-rated centre back Rob Holding, 20, from Bolton.

Wenger is also working on adding to his frontline although his interest in Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain has failed with Juventus expected to complete the transfer of the Argentine this week.