Almunia could stay, but he should never be Arsenal captain, Arsene!

By Graham McNorthbank

News filtering through from Fulham is that Mark Schwarzer is not leaving the club, potentially leaving Arsenal's plans to strengthen the goalkeeping position in tatters.

Disappointing as that might be, my gripe today is Arsene Wenger's decision to use Almunia as a stand-in skipper.

This is not yet another hatchet job on Manuel, but just a general moan about the choice of a goalie as club captain.

Now I know he's only filling in for Cesc Fabregas and that usually Robin van Persie would take the armband when Fab4 isn't on the pitch.

But my point is that a captain should be a leader on the pitch and in the modern game, it should not fall to the goalie to assume that role.

If nothing else, the Respect campaign states that referees should only be spoken to by the captain. That doesn't exactly work if your skipper is at the other end of the pitch between the posts.

Like him or loathe him, Manuel Almunia might be a decent keeper, but he is not a leader of men.

There are other onfield options for Le Gaffer to choose from - Tomas Rosicky was the captain of the Czech Republic; Thomas Vermaelen looks like he'd make a great captain. Perhaps the added responsibility of the armband might even get Andrey Arshavin to step up his game.

With Almunia's future the subject of much speculation - and Wenger himself questioning whether he is distracted by the transfer talk - why give him the armband?

RvP looks like he'll be sidelined for the next month and Cesc still isn't back at full fitness, so let's hope the hierarchy of the team is looked at during this international break so that we can have a more appropriate stand-in skipper this season.

As a fellow Addict points out, Almunia cannot command his penalty box, let alone the rest of the team.