There was some good news for the Arsenal captain this week as Arsene Wenger confirmed that he was taking up the option of extending the contract of the former German international and World Cup winning defender Per Mertesacker. The boss was also full of praise for the gigantic centre back and what his defensive ability and perhaps more importantly his attitude and leadership skills bring to the club.
There were more warm words for our BFG from his fellow German Shkodran Mustafi as well, as the summer signing revealed that his captain had been a great help in helping Mustafi settle both on and off the pitch, but in doing so he has made his job of getting back into the first team much more difficult.
In fact, Judging by the comments made bu our young right back Hector Bellerin on the Arsenal website, Mertesacker´s playing opportunities could be very limited indeed as his replacement has become a key player while our captain was out of action due to injury.
Bellerin said, “He has been a great addition to the team. He has adapted really well to the way we play. He likes to come out and look for people up front, and doesn’t kick long ball balls, he looks to play the ball on the floor and that’s really important to the way we play.
“Defensively he has grown since the first day, he is really confident around the other players, he will tell you what to do, he is a World Cup winner as well and a leader. The stats show he is a very positive defender and he is helping us get clean sheets.
“From the first day he was here we got on really well, on and off the pitch. From his time at Valencia, he speaks very good Spanish so that makes it easy – not just with me but other people in the back four.
“I feel very confident when I play with him because I know someone has got my back as well – not just the goalkeeper, you also know Shkodran will be there. I really like playing with him.”
The Spaniard did not come out and say it, but it seems to me like he is telling the manager that Arsenal are better off with Mustafi than we were with Mertesacker and while that is great news for the Gunners and our chances of trophy success, it is bad news for the club captain. Is our BFG going to be on the bench from now on?