According to various reports, Tottenham Hotspur are set to name a new captain at some point in the coming days, with Hugo Lloris, Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen apparently in the frame.
Michael Dawson left the club for Hull City over the summer, giving Mauricio Pochettino the chance to name his own skipper, and the likeliest candidate appears to be the Belgian centre-back.
Kaboul has been the man in possession of the armband so far this season, but is perhaps unlikely to end up in the hot seat permanently as the defender’s poor displays make him eminently droppable with Federico Fazio in the wings.
Meanwhile Pochettino’s favouring of Kaboul so far suggests he favours an outfield player rather Lloris, who currently dons the armband for France.
Vertonghen was linked with several moves over the summer, speculation he did little to quell, and Spurs might hope that the captaincy will encourage a greater level of commitment, with a new contract in the offing as well.
However, even this is unlikely to deter Vertonghen from pushing for a move in the summer should Spurs fail to claim a Champions League place, as his agent has hinted at similar machinations in the past.
The Lilywhites are 3/1 to finish in a top-four berth this season after taking seven points from their first four league fixtures.
The departures of players like Gareth Bale and Luka Modric from White Hart Lane in recent seasons have demonstrated that contracts are rarely as valuable as the paper on which they are inked.
Meanwhile Arsenal have sold so many captains of late it has become a running joke, with their past five skippers all leaving within the last nine years.
Spurs are clearly expecting more of Vertonghen, but that might prove a forlorn hope given his attitude during the 2013/14 campaign.
Frequently sulky at being pushed out of position to the left-flank, the Belgian showed little of the class that led him to being named in the 2012/13 Premier League Team of the Year, or enough leadership to suggest he would be a good captain.
A better choice based on their awful season would be Lloris, who was one of the few Spurs players to emerge with any credit, although similar fears will surround the keeper’s future if bigger clubs come calling this summer.
Spurs seem to have gambled that the captaincy will revitalise Vertonghen’s career at the club, both in terms of better showings on the pitch and the length of his stay, but the unlikeliness of a Champions League place make that a gamble that’s likely to fail.