Gunners will not be offering their defender Per Mertesacker a new deal despite the German’s contract entering its final 12 months, according to a report in The Times.
The report claim that the 31-year-old still holds the trust of manager Arsene Wenger but the Arsenal boss would like to assess the form and fitness of the centre-back before offering him a new deal to stay at the Emirates Stadium.
Defender Mertesacker seemingly still stays an important figure in the side having made a total of 33 appearances for the club this season in all competitions while wearing the captain’s armband.
It’s an unusual approach for Arsene Wenger to take as Mertesacker could easily start looking for another club if he feels that his days are numbered in Gunners.
The German has sat out the last two games against Barcelona and Everton, with the Times piece also suggesting that he may not be wearing the captain’s armband next season.
If Mertesacker isn’t on his way out at the end of the term, then two other defenders who may be are Kieran Gibbs and Mathieu Deubucy – as the same article reports that Arsenal are willing to listen to offers for both players – while experienced players in Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini are reported to be resigned to leaving the club after not being offered new deals.
It appears that Gunners will be losing a bulk of experience in the summer, but Mertesacker will have a chance to prove himself. Even if the teams have doubts over his ability to contribute that much over the course of a busy season, it may benefit them to keep one of their older heads around the place for certain situations.