Per Mertesacker is Arsenal’s official club captain and one of the current most experienced defenders going. He may lack in certain qualities such as his pace, but his experience and leadership skills are vital to the team. Today it has been revealed that the German international, who has retired from international duty to focus on his club career, may consider leaving Arsenal in January if the right offer comes in.
Mertesacker reportedly told the media: ‘I look at the perspectives for me and my family, and I think that I’ll intensify those thoughts from January on.
‘That’s also the time when you can listen to other things [offers] when your contract is expiring.’
I’ve seen some arguments that say Per Mertesacker is far too down on the pecking order now to warrant a place in the squad. With the likes of Mustafi, Koscielny, Holding and Gabriel all arguably ahead of the German, whilst even Chambers may be preferred over him in order for the youngster to develop, I must admit I can see the point being made here. Mertesacker is now in his thirties and with his pace already having slowed massively, I’m not sure if he’d be able to keep up with the intensity of the Premier League anymore.
I’ve also seen arguments being made that despite his playing position being in jeopardy, perhaps he should be kept on to use his knowledge and experience on the game, in a leadership role as club captain. We’ve seen this before in the form of Mikel Arteta, who in his last two seasons with the club, didn’t feature too much on the pitch. Instead he used his leadership qualities off the field to directly influence players, rather than having a part to play on the pitch. Like the other argument, I can also see the point in this statement and I must admit I agree with both.
Overall in my opinion, despite more than likely not having much of a team role anymore, I think Mertesacker should consider staying on at Arsenal to directly influence the players off the pitch. Koscielny is a good leader to have on the pitch, but Per’s experience and wisdom is very valuable to the team. Of course ultimately Mertesacker may decide that he would prefer to seek regular playing time elsewhere whilst he still can play at the highest levels of professional football, at which point the ball wouldn’t be in Arsenal’s court to decide his fate anyway.
What do you think should happen with Mertesacker in Jan? Should Arsenal look to sell up, or is he worth keeping as a valuable asset to the club off the pitch?