Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doesn’t wear the Arsenal armband, but he is certainly acting like a captain both on and off the pitch for Unai Emery this season.
The Gabon international, 30, is well and truly in the prime of his career right now.
He bagged an incredible 31 goals in 51 appearances for the Gunners last season, sharing the Premier League Golden Boot with Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, and has scored eight in 10 so far this term.
But as well as becoming an integral member of Emery’s side, Aubameyang is also proving an important mentor for Arsenal’s young players behind the scenes.
According to The Athletic, the former Borussia Dortmund star sought out 18-year-old Gabriel Martinelli when he joined the club in the summer.
Aubameyang is said to have spoken bits of Portuguese to the Brazilian forward in the Gunners’ canteen to make him feel welcome in north London.
As well as helping Martinelli settle in, he reportedly marked out Bukayo Saka, also 18, for compliments amid his progression into the first-team ranks from the academy this season.
Both Martinelli and Saka have started their Arsenal careers in impressive fashion, with the former netting braces in Carabao Cup and Europa League wins over Nottingham Forest and Standard Liege.
Saka also got on the scoresheet in their 3-0 win away at Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League, as well as registering two assists.
Nicolas Pepe, 24, is another fresh-faced member of the Gunners’ squad Aubameyang has been there for this season.
The French-Ivorian completed a club-record £72m move to Arsenal in the summer, yet he has so far struggled to justify his hefty price tag, scoring just one goal in his first nine games.
He has Aubameyang to thank for that first strike, too, which came in a 3-2 win at home to Aston Villa on September 22.
With Arsenal trailing 1-0, last year’s top scorer could have added to his 2019/20 tally when the referee pointed to the spot for a foul on Matteo Guendouzi in the box.
Aubameyang was supposed to take the penalty, but instead he installed faith in new-boy Pepe and allowed him to get off the mark for the club.
Pepe needs all the backing he can get from his team-mates right now, having given the ball away an astonishing 17 times in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw away at Manchester United last month and subsequently struggling for form.