Why did Arsenal give Mertesacker a one year extension this season?

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…

Darren N


  1. McLovin says:

    Because Wenger plays charity to the “good” guys:


    1. jon fox says:

      You forgot the “saintly, polite but idle to the core Walcott” too! Twelve years we suffered that weed!

    2. RSH says:

      essentially, though I’d take Flamini off the list since we did use a decent amount of times his final season.

  2. Innit says:

    Because he is our captain and out of respect. Also he was excellent in the FA Cup final. He is still useful in the odd match here and there. He wanted a final season before retirement. He has helped us win 3 FA Cups, finish 2nd place in the League, qualify for Champions League for several years. He deserves a final year

    I don’t see it as a problem. Wenger has done much worse things than this.

    Its kind of a petty thing to complain about really.

    1. jon fox says:

      I respect David Attenborough but don’t expect my club to pay him a superfluous salary. Wrong thinking! If wasting money is “petty” that explains why we have wasted countless millions we could have used to get proper players in.

    2. RSH says:

      we’ve used him maybe two games? These guys are getting paid millions. It is a big deal when that money could be going elsewhere. I wouldn’t be too happy if I owned shares in the club. I’d be unhappy about many things though. They easily could’ve offered Mert a backroom position instead of a new contract when everyone knew he was going to get very minimal game time. CB is not a position we are light on either.

  3. CorporateMan says:

    I think his performance at the FA Cup final against all expectations helped his cause. Also possibly because Arsenal could not land their top CB targets after selling Gabriel. Im sure even Wenger will be asking the same question.

    1. Ken 1945 says:

      Corprate Man,
      The point you make about not being able to land our top CB targets is, IMHO, the reason Per was given this extension.
      Imagine the hue and cry if we had lost both Kos and Mustafi through injury and had to rely on Holding and Chambers for a prolonged period?
      We have already had people moaning that we didn’t replace Gabriel and now the club is getting castigated for giving Per a one year extension!
      Huss Fahhy must have negotiated the extension, so I don’t know what the terms are, obviously others are privvy to this information.
      But not to worry, I’m sure we will see Raul and Sven making the right decisions regarding new recruits and players who have given their all for AFC will, hopefully
      be given the respect they deserve.
      I’ll remember Per for his outstanding performance in the cup final against Chelsea.
      What the club earnt in revenue and global exposure with that one game should have paid for his one year extension.

  4. Phil says:

    Difficult this one.The Cup Final performance from the BFG was priceless and on that alone nobody questioned Wengers decision to give him the extra year.This season you felt he would nurture Holding and Chambers in the Carabao and Europa League competitions.That has obviously not happened and we all saw for ourselves how bad he had become with THAT performance against Forest in the FA CUP.
    We bought Pers after the 8-2 humiliation at Old Trafford and before last season you could count the bad showings from him on the fingers of one hand so he has no doubt been an important signing.
    The Final Contract?If he is able to use his experience in the new set-up it would be worth it.But the new set-up must NOT include Wenger.This is proven by Steve Bould.

  5. True gunner says:

    I wise Wenger was my boss then I would be rich. The number of useless players he has given a handsome bounty. From Walcott to Ozil and the list continues.

    1. jon fox says:

      YOU ACTUALLY PUT WALCOTT AND OZIL IN THE SAME CATEGORY? I agree Ozil has games where he appears to hide. But Walcott had TWELVE years of doing little else. And Ozil IS a sublime talent whereas Walcot had ……well, a boyish smile, a polite word or two on TV interviews and a love for obscene money , unearned and undeserved. But you have a great point in general about Wenger and the huge money he has wasted over so many years on deadbeats and serial sicknotes.

  6. Phil says:

    Ozil useless?Are you serious pal or what?He is not only a world class player but the best we have had at this club for many a year. Do you seriously think Ozil would have signed his contract if he didn’t think we were changing as a club?And the first change come the end of this season will be the Manager.

    1. Sony says:

      Sorry, but our legendary manager is not going to be sacked so not gonna happen. For Ozil stay that means Wenger stays as well.

  7. Bakri says:

    Mertesacker has admitted that he has terrible psychological problems and it will be very dangerous to let him deal with Arsenal youngsters . In the first place what qualification Mertesacker has to become a coach at all. All his time at Arsenal he proved to be a poor very slow player and looked like a camel in horse race and some children criticized him of being so slow.Mertesacker is a part of Professor Wenger’s heritage and should leave with him this summer.

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