Toure or Fabregas for captain
Out of trouble can come good solutions...
William Gallas has spoken out over various things that are making him unhappy at Arsenal. The fact that he has views about certain things at Arsenal is not problematic. However, by bringing the club into disrepute and publicly embarrasing Arsene Wenger who has consistently defended Gallas' captaincy, I think he was fundamentally wrong to have gone public in a detailed way about his concerns.
The allegation spreading across the net and news media is that Gallas has been stripped of the captaincy. I would support that sanction and hope it revives the value of the Arsenal captaincy which undoubteldly fell in image after Gallas' response to the sad draw at St Andrews back in February.
Gallas is not a natural leader. He is not calm and stern when faced with obstacles. He reacts with fire that often looks unsettling. He does not set a good outward example for his teammates to follow.
His public criticial outburst is another instance of extraordinary public behaviour that lets Gallas and the club down - and I would suggest two main candidates to replace him as captain.
The first is Kolo Toure. The only surviving regular starter of the invincibles - he has been a hugely committed player representing the Arsenal spirit in the best sense since his debut. I still remember his first TV interview after scoring at Stamford Bridge in one his first matches for Arsenal; he spoke with superb humility and demonstrated through his manner and choice of words a character of immense quality that made me think we have a special character to watch at Arsenal.
He hasn't let me down in this impression - most recently seen when as captain for the recent home match against Everton after damaging his shoulder in a bad fall. He got up and proceeded to play the next twenty minutes in apparent agony but a simultaneous desire to lay his body on the line for his teammates and the club. It was fantastic to see Kolo's spirit under strain; and it is this example combined with his experience that for me would make him an excellent choice as Arsenal captain.
The second is Cesc Fabregas. He is a winner in his play and in his character. When on the ball he is the most mature and composed footballer I have seen play for Arsenal (been watching since 1987). He demonstrates footballing intelligence on the pitch and maturity in his behaviour and interviews off the pitch. He is a fighter when the team is down. He is the 'go to' player when Arsenal are in possession - and has confidently assumed that position since his elevation to replacement of Patick Vieira as a precocious and level-headed 18 year old.
Fabregas has demonstrated his leadership qualities many times. In January 2007 at White Hart Lane in a Carling Cup semi-final first leg match, the home team had flown into a two goal lead against an extremely young Arsenal team and the Tottenham ground was rocking. Cesc Fabregas, at 19 years old, than took charge of the match. His performance was sensastional to watch as he drove his team to a second half comeback courtesy of two Baptista goals. It was a performance that convinced me that Fabregas had the winning character combined with influential quality to be a future Arsenal captain. I saw clearly that it was in his nature and character to be a fantastic leader. If Wenger was to honour him with the captaincy now it would be a very reasonable choice.
I'll be happy with either choice of Toure or Fabregas if it is indeed the case that Gallas will no longer lead the club. Personally I think either will bring a better representation to the captaincy than Gallas did. Lets wait and see what Wenger has in mind.