Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has announced that Thomas Vermaelen will be the club's new captain following the departure of Robin Van Persie to Manchester United.
SOUNDBITE: (English) Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager (Q:What is the situation with Robin van Persie?)
"The situation is simple, we have regret, for we have lost a great player and for one simple reason is that he had only one year left on his contract and he wanted to go. And as well that we had anticipated that this situation might happen and therefore we had bought (Lukas) Podolski and (Olivier) Giroud and I think we were prepared to keep him of course but as well, the worst gets to the worst, to sell him.
(Q: And of course you are selling to a direct rival?)
"That's not what we wanted but there was not much choice. We had only one club really, interested at the level we thought would be acceptable and that was Man United. So at the end of the day, that's the only decision we could make."
SOUNDBITE: (English) Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager (Q:Who will take over as club captain?)
"(Thomas) Vermaelen was vice captain so it's a quick decision because ... but I think we have many captains, potential captains in this team, but at the moment it will be like that."
SOUNDBITE: (English) Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager (Q: What do you make of your opponents Sunderland who you play in the opening game of the season?)
"Well we play Sunderland, you know, gives us always traditionally intense physical game, doesn't give a lot of space away so we have to create our space and always a dense midfield, good on counter-attack and therefore it will be important for us to deal with that. It's difficult to play Sunderland any moment of the season and at the moment we are of course physically not at completely at our peak, so we'll need to be intelligent and patient certainly."
Vermaelen named Arsenal captainSaturday, August 18 2012