By Amir Mir

Arsene Wenger has handed the Arsenal captaincy to midfielder Santi Carzola, according to a report.

The Daily Star claim that the Spaniard will lead the team out for their opening Premier League fixture against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.

Carzola, 31, takes over as leader from fellow Spaniard Mikel Arteta, who retired from football this summer and took up a coaching role with Premier League rivals Manchester City.

Per Mertesacker had been earmarked to replace Arteta but he is facing five months out after suffering a knee injury during pre-season.

It is said veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech was in with a fighting chance of getting the captaincy, but Wenger prefers his skipper to be an outfield player.

Spanish playmaker Cazorla missed five months of action last season when he picked up a knee injury against Norwich last November.

However, Cazorla is seen as a significant influence in the Arsenal team as his manager shows great faith in his ability to lead from the front.

The Gunners will have various senior men missing for their opening Premier League fixture, with Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Mertesacker and Gabriel all either injured or unfit.

In other Arsenal team news, the club have opened talks to sign this Barcelona defender.