EXLUSIVE: Mikel Arteta Appoints Two Arsenal Stars To Support Martin Odegaard In Leadership Roles

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta wants to revamp the team’s leadership group to support recently-appointed captain Martin Odegaard during the coming Premier League campaign

Mikel Arteta has reportedly added midfielder Granit Xhaka and striker Gabriel Jesus to Arsenal’s leadership group to support new captain Martin Odegaard.

The Gunners announced Odegaard, 23, as their permanent captain this summer, despite his young age. The Norway international, who succeeded Alexandre Lacazette in the role, commands the respect of the Arsenal dressing room and also wears the armband for his country.

Mikel Arteta Appoints Two Arsenal Stars To Support Martin Odegaard In Leadership Roles
Mikel Arteta Appoints Two Arsenal Stars To Support Martin Odegaard In Leadership Roles

Lacazette was Arsenal’s skipper for the second half of last season after his predecessor, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, was stripped of the captaincy and transferred to Barcelona for disciplinary reasons. Lacazette also left the club when his contract expired in June, joining Lyon.

According to The Athletic, Arteta has asked Xhaka, 29, and Jesus, 25, to support Odegaard with his new job. Xhaka’s appointment is interesting because he was stripped of the captaincy by Arteta’s predecessor, Unai Emery, in October 2019.

Xhaka lost the armband after swearing at Arsenal fans and throwing a strop when he was substituted during a home Premier League game against Crystal Palace. He was also linked with a move away from the Emirates last summer, with Roma interested.

Martin Odegaard has already been handed unofficial Arsenal role by Mikel  Arteta - Mirror Online

Despite this, Xhaka is a popular figure in the dressing room and is viewed as a natural leader. Jesus, meanwhile, has made an immediate impact at Arsenal following his move from Manchester City earlier this summer, scoring twice against Leicester on Saturday.

Do you think Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Jesus should join Arsenal’s leadership group? Let us know in the comments below!

Jesus has also impressed off the pitch, with Arteta appreciating his ‘exemplary’ attitude. His success at the Etihad – winning four Premier League titles – and relationship with the squad’s Portuguese-speaking contingent are also believed to be factors in the decision.

Gabriel Jesus brace helps Arsenal outgun Leicester in six-goal thriller |  Premier League | The Guardian

“Of course I was happy, proud and grateful for the trust and for him wanting me to be the captain,” said Odegaard on his appointment. “That’s a big achievement for me and it’s nice to be part of such a good team, so I’m going to enjoy that.”

On the other leaders in the squad, Odegaard added: “Yeah of course it’s important that we all take leadership, it’s not just about me or a few people but I think everyone needs to take the leadership and do what’s best for the team, so everyone has to do that.”

Arteta was very complementary about Jesus’ attitude after he signed for the Gunners. “Start with his character, the person, the smile and what he represents as a human being,” he said. “Then he’s an incredible professional, with his work ethic and enthusiasm.

“You will see it the first day he puts on his boots and enters the training pitch; he has the enthusiasm that he is going to create on his own on that pitch… he is used to winning and he knows that winning is the only way to do it. I think he will set different standards.”

Arteta has also expressed his delight at how Xhaka has rebuilt his reputation with the fans after the Palace debacle. “I didn’t want to see him leave that way,” said Arteta in April. “I think it was a little bit like running away from a difficult situation and I didn’t think that reflected the personality or character of Granit. So I am glad that he has stayed and I am very impressed that he has been able talk with that maturity about the situation.”

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