Per Mertesacker has been named as Arsenal’s official captain of the first team this season, although Laurent Koscielny is currently deputising for the German whilst he remains out on the sidelines through injury. Mertesacker’s injury means that he has lost his place in the match day squad, after becoming a regular feature of the side for the last few years. Upon his expected return from injury in December however, it is not anticipated that the defender will go back into the Arsenal starting line up, as there is plenty of competition for Mertesacker to prove his value against.
The likes of Koscielny and Mustafi can now be deemed as the first choice centre backs for Arsenal, whilst Mertesacker, Gabriel and Rob Holding must all battle it out for the remaining place on the bench. Unfortunately for Mertesacker I don’t think it is a battle he will win, especially as his physical fitness has already showed signs of slowing in a physically demanding Premier League.
The concerns over playing time have therefore sparked up a few questions surrounding the BFG’s future, with reports earlier in the season suggesting this may be his final season with the club. Mertesacker has already spoken about how he will have to consider his future at the club if he cannot get back into the side and that he may well have to be on the lookout for a new team in January if that’s what’s necessary to prolong his career. Mertesacker has already retired from international duty to focus on his club career and so he cannot now afford to also be on the sidelines at Arsenal if he wants to keep playing at the top level for as long as he can.
Today however further information has come out regarding Mertesacker’s future, with reports stating that the defender has already held talks with another club. Werder Bremen is where Mertesacker made his name in professional football in Germany. The BFG enjoyed several fantastic years with the Bundesliga side, before coming to Arsenal. Now however it seems that he may be set for a return, with current Bremen skipper Clemens Fritz telling Bild: “We’ve talked about it [a return to Bremen]. It would be a good thing for the club.”
Mertesacker is out of contract next season and with it seeming unlikely for Arsenal to offer the 32 year old a new deal, he may well agree to move on as soon as the January transfer window.
Personally I think it would be a shame to see the BFG go, because he really is a likeable character at the club. Unfortunately for him however, his ability now seems to be dropping and so his value at Arsenal will be going down as well. For the sake of his career, as well as the fact that it is more than likely that Arsenal don’t need him anymore, it would be best for the German to move on. Things may change between now and January, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see if this was Mertesacker’s last season with the Gunners.