Mikel Arteta explains why Granit Xhaka rejected captain's armband against Brentford

Tom Gott
Xhaka declined to wear the armband
Xhaka declined to wear the armband / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

Mikel Arteta has confirmed midfielder Granit Xhaka rejected the captain's armband against Brentford because it was supposed to go to Kieran Tierney instead.

Alexandre Lacazette has been acting as the team captain following the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who replaced Xhaka as team captain in 2019 after the Swiss midfielder got embroiled in a war of words with supporters.

When Lacazette was taken off late into Saturday's 2-1 win over Brentford, the armband was brought to Xhaka by substitute Eddie Nketiah, but the former captain refused it and made a point of giving it to left-back Kieran Tierney instead.

Given all that has gone on with Arsenal's captaincy in recent years, some fans felt as though this was the latest in a long episode of meltdowns, but as confirmed by Arteta after the game, it was simply just a mistake.

"It was for Kieran," Arteta said of the armband. "Kieran was the next in line and that’s the reason why [Xhaka refused it]."

When asked whether Nketiah had been given the wrong instructions, the boss responded: “Maybe Eddie didn’t pick it up and Granit told him he should have to give it to Kieran. That’s it.”

Xhaka has forced his way back into favour at the Emirates, bouncing back from a poor red card against Manchester City earlier in the season and proving to be a valuable part of Arteta's midfield.

He continues to be linked with a move to Roma, where Jose Mourinho wants to join forces, but whether Arsenal choose to sell remains to be seen.

As for Tierney, he has long been earmarked as a potential future captain of Arsenal and Lacazette's expected departure in the summer - 90min understands he will not be offered a contract extension - could see Tierney promoted on a permanent basis.