Everyone knew that Per Mertesacker was not good enough for Arsenal last season, including Arsene wenger, who only gave him one sub appearance in the League before playing BFG in the FA Cup Final when we had a defensive crisis. Okay he played well in that one, but was that enough to deserve a one-year extension to his playing contract? Why didn’t Wenger simply move him on to the youth coaching setup straight away?
We all know that in his day, Mertesacker was one of the best in the world, but the 33 year-old has tarnished his memory by staying in the squad for one last season. He may have earned a lot of money, but the fact is he has been too useless for words nowadays and has been slated every time Wenger has forced him to play. The German has taken part in 5 EPL games this season and was only on the winning side once (against Everton) and his last competitive match was in our awful FA Cup elimination to Nottingham Forest.
Now Per has given a frank interview to Der Spiegel and admitted that he simply can’t handle the pressure any more, and hates going onto the pitch. “Some days you realise that everything is a burden, both physically and mentally… but you have to deliver without a doubt, even if you are injured,” he said.
“In the moments before a game starts, my stomach turns around as if I had to vomit. Then I have to choke so violently until my eyes water.
“Even if I had to vomit before every game and go to rehab 20 times, I would do it all over again. It was worth it for all of the memories.”
“My body is finished.
“Everyone says I should enjoy the last year, to play as much as possible and take everything in, (but) I would rather sit on the bench or – even better – in the stands, and then, for the first time in my life, aged more than 30, I will feel free.”
One thing we can all agree on is that he has been a great leader and servant to the club, and has helped advise many Arsenal players coming into the first team and will do again when he moves top the Academy in the summer. I just wish he hadn’t hung on so long and was made to look a figure of fun on the pitch…