• Premier League

Vermaelen replaces Van Persie as Arsenal captain

ESPN staff
August 17, 2012

Arsene Wenger has moved quickly to fill the void left by Robin van Persie by naming defender Thomas Vermaelen as captain.

With Van Persie's move to Manchester United set to be completed by the weekend, the Belgium international, Wenger has handed the skipper's armband to the Belgium international, with Mikel Arteta named vice-captain.

"It is Vermaelen and Arteta," Wenger said. "Vermaelen was vice-captain, so it is a quick decision. I think we have many potential captains in the squad, but at the moment it will be like that."

Wenger admitted selling his talismanic striker to Arsenal's rivals was a "bitter pill to swallow", but is confident new signings Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla will prove worthy replacements.

Vermaelen, who joined the Gunners from Ajax in 2009, has made 67 Premier League appearances for Arsenal.

Van Persie will become the fifth captain that Arsenal have sold in the past seven years.

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