GRANIT XHAKA has urged Arsenal to make him their new captain – insisting he deserves the role.
And the Swiss international maintained the Gunners can regain a Champions League place next May despite ever-increasing competition.
Midfielder Xhaka is favourite to be given the armband by boss Unai Emery following Laurent Koscielny’s departure for Bordeaux.
The 26-year-old has previously captained German club Borussia Monchengladbach as well as the Swiss national side.
Arsenal kick off their Premier League campaign at Newcastle on Sunday.
Formerly Champions League regulars, they will have to make do with Europa League football for the third successive season this term.
Xhaka said: “I would be delighted to be the first Swiss player to captain a Premier League club.
“It would be something special, and a dream come true for me. It would be a recognition of my performances for Arsenal.
“It would also be a special responsibility to follow in the footsteps of great players like Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry.
“I plan to continually improve, work on my game, get better all the time, fine-tune the small details – and to achieve success.
“Everything else comes second to these ambitions.
“We absolutely want to get back to finishing in the top four, and I am convinced the players we have signed can help us achieve it.
“Nicolas Pepe will help our attack make sweet music together with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
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“I expect the Premier League to be as closely-fought as it was last season – not just at the top. but all the way down to eighth place.
“Look what Aston Villa have done in the transfer market, and you can see it’s going to be tougher than ever.
“I expect the title race will be incredibly close right until the end.”