Arsene Wenger has denied that he is using the captaincy to bribe Jack Wilshere into signing a new contract at the club.
Wenger has often spoken about Jack as a future captain of the club, even going so far as to suggest him as a future manager at Arsenal.
With Wilshere refusing to sign a new contract that is designed to reduce his wages and put the onus on the player to stay fit, Wenger is running out of options to get the midfielder to renew.
Arsenal’s positioning on Jack’s contract was strengthened last week when the Englishman picked up a knee injury in training while on international duty. Although it was his first injury of the season, the timing could not have been worse.
It forced him out of England’s game against the Netherlands after a hard-won recall. He was expected to be fit for the game against Italy on Tuesday, but will not play any part in that game, either, prompting Gareth Southgate to strongly hint that his World Cup chance is now gone.
Speaking to beIN SPORTS, Wenger was asked if the Arsenal captaincy was something he was using to influence Wilshere.
“No, not at all,” the Frenchman replied (via Goal.com).
“He was born at the club basically. He has a long history with the club, strong link with the club.
“Jack Wilshere on the pitch is a big quality.
“Apart from his technical top qualities he has personality and is in the right place on the pitch, and now with the maturity to organise around him. That’s why I played him central.
“I just thought the combination of history, the fact that he’s a long-term player for the club, the fact that he has experience and knowledge now, I trust now to make him captain.”
Per Mertesacker is Arsenal’s current club captain but he’s hanging up his boots at the end of the season.
Normally, Wenger would just promote the vice captain to the role – in this case Laurent Koscielny – but his own injury problems, along with his age, may see Wenger bypass Kos in favour of someone else.