Mikel Arteta may need to replace Hector Bellerin in another way at Arsenal.
On transfer deadline day, the right-back sealed a season-long loan move to La Liga outfit Real Betis, becoming the 15th Gunners player to depart on a temporary basis this summer.
Takehiro Tomiyasu also completed a transfer on deadline day, sealing a £19m move from Serie A side Bologna and he will be expected to claim the role of undisputed right-back ahead of Cedric Soares, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Calum Chambers after the international break.
However, Bellerin’s departure poses a big question as to who will become the next Arsenal vice-captain?
The Spaniard has been the understudy to captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the past two seasons, and now that he’s gone, Arteta needs to announce a new one.
Judging by what happened against Brentford and Chelsea, it could be that Granit Xhaka is named the new Arsenal vice-captain, despite only being stripped of the main role two years ago after swearing at fans when he was booed following his substitution against Crystal Palace.
Aside from Xhaka, Albert Sambi Lokonga – a £15m summer signing from Anderlecht – could be a surprise candidate as he did captain the Belgian side before turning 22.
Ghana vice-captain Thomas Partey is another option, as is Martin Odegaard whose leadership qualities have already been praised by Arteta after being named Norway captain back in March.
But Arteta has already hinted at Kieran Tierney being the perfect potential replacement for Bellerin in terms of being a future Arsenal captain.
“I think he can be Arsenal captain as he has the respect and admiration of every member of the staff and every player,” Arteta said, as per Goal. “It is just the way he is.
“He does it in a natural way.
“He is a really shy boy as well but he represents all of us in the club; all of the values that we want to instill and are in the DNA in this club.”
Could the first step in Tierney’s journey to becoming Arsenal captain be to take over from Bellerin as the understudy to Aubameyang after the former bid a temporary farewell to the Emirates?