Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker is considering retiring from playing this summer, despite having agreed a new contract for the 2017-18 campaign.
The German international has been our club captain all year, despite picking up a long-term injury in pre-season, and only managed to pick up two appearances in all competitions after recovering.
We are now expected to bring in another defender or two to fill our three central roles in our new formation, and Mertesacker now looks set to give up on his playing role, but remains keen on staying with the club in another capacity.
“I was extremely lucky with my career and I want to finish on a high,” Mertesacker said.
“I am motivated, but I cannot play every three days any more. I don’t want to stretch my luck.
“I recently told him [manager Arsene Wenger] that I am tired, mentally wasted. The first time in my career I thought it makes no sense anymore, that I’ll retire. No matter how hard I practiced I didn’t get a chance.
“At Arsenal you are replaceable so quickly as a player, I don’t want to stand in someone’s way. Winning the FA Cup was an extreme close which I could not expect.
“Arsenal want to keep hold of me and there are already talks. It will be in the business operations. I will stand on the other side.”
Mertesacker deserves to go out on a high after his display against Chelsea, and I’m more than happy for him to step down in favour of allowing Rob Holding and others more opportunities.
Does Per deserve a testimonial for his service to the club? Could he still have had a role to play for us next season?