A number of Premier League teams will start the 2023/24 campaign under new leadership, with several former captains having departing for new clubs and challenges.
Van Dijk, Fernandes and the Premier League teams set for new captains this season.
Cesar Azpilicueta has waved a tearful goodbye to Chelsea, with the long-serving Spaniard departing for Atletico Madrid after more than a decade at Stamford Bridge.
The right-back has been a fine leader for Chelsea since inheriting the armband from Gary Cahill and Chelsea will want their next choice to demand similar standards. Thiago Silva appears the obvious option for Chelsea, with the evergreen Brazilian boasting a wealth of experience.
Silva will turn 39 in September and would represent a short-term option, though could oversee an easy transition to whoever is appointed vice-captan. Reece James appears a natural fit for that role as the face of Chelsea’s Cobham production line.
Guehi has gone from strength to strength since swapping Chelsea for a regular role at Palace, with his form having seen the 23-year-old break into the England set-up. The captaincy could persuade Guehi to commit to Palace’s project for the long-term, amid interest in the defender from higher up the division.
Liverpool – Virgil van Dijk
Jordan Henderson has brought an end to his long career at Liverpool, signing for Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq after 12 successful seasons at Anfield. The lucrative offer from the Middle East has seen the 33-year-old depart and with vice-captain James Milner also leaving, Liverpool have named new names for both captaincy roles.
A new chapter begins with the armband 👊 pic.twitter.com/mvfED7B1eE
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 31, 2023
Mohamed Salah has since been promoted into that leadership group, while it is Alexander-Arnold who takes the vice-captaincy. The boyhood Liverpool fan has become a central figure for the side since rising from the academy ranks and will deputise in Van Dijk’s absence this season.
Jurgen Klopp’s primary focus will be on ensuring standards do not slip, given the role Henderson and Milner had on the club’s dressing room culture.
A proud day for me and my family. Thank you all for the messages of support in the last day. Let’s keep the positivity and push for a great season 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/kpmnXauls7
— Bruno Fernandes (@B_Fernandes8) July 21, 2023
Hugo Lloris has not joined Tottenham on their pre-season tour with the goalkeeper having made clear his desire for a new challenge. Harry Kane is the current vice-captain at Spurs and the obvious successor – if the England captain remains in north London.
Should Kane commit to the new project under Ange Postecoglou, he will be the red-hot favourite to take over as captain. Should the 29-year-old depart for Bayern Munich or elsewhere, Spurs face selecting a new skipper and vice-captain. It appears an open race from the remaining options.
“Again, it’s about me getting to know the group and allowing that to develop,” Postecoglou said on the captaincy at a pre-season press conference. “Some of those things you’re better off letting it grow organically rather than forcing things and having preconceived ideas.
“I just want to see how the group works. And like I say, so far the whole group has been really strong in terms of committing to what we’re going to do, and that’s what you want to see.
“Within that you see individuals who will look to lead. And they all lead in different ways.
“Guys that are prepared to take some responsibility for what we’re about to embark on.”
West Ham. “It will be decided by myself. I think a captain is hugely important. I have had some great boys who have captained my teams over the years.
“Mark Noble was exceptional for West Ham. Phil Neville was exceptional for Everton for me. Declan was great in the short period here he was captain at West Ham.
“So we will look closely to see what is the right choice and we have got a bit of time before the season starts and [when] we need to make a decision on that.”
A likeable character who gives his all, West Ham could do worse than make Soucek skipper.