It’s a well-known fallacy by now that every football fan thinks that their club is as equally special as they are unlucky and downright calamitous. But what we can all agree on is that Arsenal are the ultimate soap opera club.
The Gunners may as well change their strips from red to purple and move on up to the fictional town of Harchester. 90min understands that the latest drama in N5 is that manager Mikel Arteta is open to selling club captain and star player Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as the curse of Arsenal’s skipper goes on.
But how cursed is the armband? Let’s look at the recent captains of Arsenal Football Club and what happened to them next…
How his captaincy started: Defender with lots of international experience
How his captaincy ended: Leaking information about squad tensions
Arsenal banter era rating: 7/10
Gallas was a great defender in his prime, something which is often overlooked when discussing Arsenal’s sale of Ashley Cole to Chelsea. But when a centre-back takes the number ten shirt, you’re not going to be a popular guy in the world of football for much longer.
After infamously sulking on the pitch after defeat against Birmingham, he left Arsenal on a free transfer in 2010 to join rivals Tottenham – and captained them to their first ever win at the Emirates Stadium months later.
How his captaincy started: One of the longest-serving players after joining from Barcelona
How his captaincy ended: Leaving for Barcelona
Arsenal banter era rating: 8/10
Fabregas is an undisputed Premier League legend, but his legacy at Arsenal is a complicated one.
There’s a strong argument that he’s the best player the Gunners have had since leaving Highbury, but his status as a great at Chelsea muddies the waters. At least we know for sure that he hates Spurs.
How his captaincy started: The last star standing
How his captaincy ended: Forcing a move to Wenger’s biggest rival
Arsenal banter era rating: 9/10
After carrying Arsenal to an unlikely third-placed finish and winning the Premier League golden boot, Van Persie decided he needed to be competing for titles – and he did not believe that was possible at Arsenal.
The ‘little boy’ inside him told him to move to Man Utd, and within a year he was a champion.
How his captaincy started: Well someone has to have the armband
How his captaincy ended: Also leaving for Barcelona
Arsenal banter era rating: 3/10
Why Barça were interested in Vermaelen at this stage of his career is one of the great mysteries of life.
He had been dropped from Arsenal’s first-choice XI long before his final season, and yet after one year in Catalonia he had added a Champions League medal to his collection. Whatever.
How his captaincy started: The most underrated player in the league
How his captaincy ended: A string of injuries and retirement
Arsenal banter era rating: 5/10
Vermaelen kicked off a trend of the club captain of Arsenal hardly ever featuring, and this tradition was continued by Arteta.
Nowadays, the Spaniard still has a pretty important role at the club while also still not playing. It’s not going well for him.
How his captaincy started: The slowest athlete in history
How his captaincy ended: The slowest athlete in history, but slower
Arsenal banter era rating: 1/10
It felt like Mertesacker actually retired a few years before he actually did in 2018, when he took up the role as manager of the Arsenal academy.
Considering the amount of young players breaking through at the Emirates, he’s probably doing a better job than Arteta is post-retirement.
How his captaincy started: The first of the post-Wenger era
How his captaincy ended: With this ‘disrespectful’ unveiling at Bordeaux
Arsenal banter era rating: 7/10
Personally don’t see anything disrespectful about this video, but it rubbed some Arsenal fans the wrong way and that’s all that matters.
How his captaincy started: When he was given the house keys as a child
How his captaincy ended: Being booed by 60,000 people and swearing at them in response
Arsenal banter era rating: 10/10
Unbelievably, Xhaka is still at Arsenal today, and the club even triggered an extension in his contract after failing to sell him this transfer window.
Here’s to many more great memories.
How his captaincy started: Brink of legendary status
How his captaincy ended: N/A
Arsenal banter era rating: TBD
After almost single-handedly dragging Arsenal to their FA Cup triumph in 2020, fans were sure that Aubameyang would end his Emirates Stadium career alongside Thierry Henry and Ian Wright as one of the true legendary forwards.
A bumper contract to extend his stay in north London was followed by a rather disappointing season, and now it looks like he could be forced out the door before this window ends. That’s the Arsenal way.