Petr Cech being considered by Arsene Wenger to be Arsenal captain next season if he snubs Per Mertesacker

Mertesacker's place in the first team has come under question in recent weeks with Cech emerging as a contender to replace Mikel Arteta in the summer

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The Independent Football

Petr Cech could wear the captain’s armband at Arsenal next season if manager Arsene Wenger decides to snub Per Mertesacker, it has been claimed.

German defender Mertesacker is the current vice-captain to Mikel Arteta, and with the Spaniard out of Wenger’s first-team plans at present and due to leave the club when his contract expires in the summer, Mertesacker has taken over the captaincy responsibility this season.

But The Mirror claim that it may not be the centre-back who leads the team out next season even if Arteta leaves, as Wenger is said to be considering former Chelsea goalkeeper Cech for the role due to his impressive debut season at the Emirates.

Cech joined the club from London rivals Chelsea last summer in a deal worth around £11m, and has quickly stabilised the Gunners at the back following years of inconsistency from the likes of Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski, Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina.

The Czech Republic international has quickly become one of the first names on the team-sheet for Wenger, and a string of impressive performances have kept Arsenal in the hunt for the Premier League title this term as they battle Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.

Mertesacker would normally be a shoe-in to take on the armband and step-up from his role as vice-captain – as Arteta did himself when Thomas Vermaelen left for Barcelona in 2014 – but his place in the Arsenal first-team has come under question in recent weeks.

Per Mertesacker celebrates with Theo Walcott during the 2-1 win over Leicester

A red card in the defeat by Chelsea last month for fouling Diego Costa early on resulted in Wenger deploying Gabriel Paulista alongside Laurent Koscielny for the FA Cup win over Burnley, and the Brazilian impressed enough to ensure that the German did not replace him when available again for the goalless draw with Southampton and victory at Bournemouth.

Paulista did miss the 2-1 victory over Leicester last Sunday through injury, and remains a doubt for this weekend’s FA Cup fifth round clash against Hull. With Koscielny also struggling, Mertesacker looks certain to start and could partner Calum Chambers in the centre of defence.