Per Mertesacker is claimed to be in line for a new contract at present, but what role will he have to play for Arsenal next season?
The German international is yet to play a single match this term, having fallen foul of injury in pre-season, and is only nearing a return to action in the coming weeks.
Mertesacker was made club captain in the summer following the departure of Mikel Arteta to Manchester City in a coaching capacity, which came as a shock to some following his injury.
His new contract is also somewhat of a surprise, with the German looking to have fallen down the pecking order following the arrival of Shkodran Mustafi, as well as the fact that Rob Holding and Calum Chambers may well be pushing for first-team action for next season.
The former Southampton defender has been impressing on loan with Middlesbrough this season, and could well be given the chance to return to the first-team squad should he continue to do well under Aitor Karanka.
Despite the wealth of defensive options available to the Gunners, the 32 year-old is said to be close to signing a one-year extension to his contract, which would see him stay with the club until the summer of 2018, but will he really have a role to play?
The fact that he has been given the captain’s armband, as well as the fact that he is known to be a very strong leader within our squad, leads me to believe that his extension is more to do with his impact in and around the squad, more than the need for him as a player.
There may also be a possible coaching role for the big German in the near future…
Will Mertesacker be a regular player next season if fit? Or is his importance at Arsenal mainly in the backroom?