Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker is thinking about a return to Germany, with former club Hannover 96 interested in a reunion with the giant defender.
Mertesacker has been at the Emirates since 2011 and is the Gunners’ Captain, but has been fighting for a starting place since last season, when Brazilian Gabriel Paulista signed from Villarreal.
Arsene Wenger regularly paired Gabriel with Laurent Koscielny at the back for Arsenal, although the pairing couldn’t carry the Gunners to a Premier League title, as Leicester City claimed the league.
Should Wenger dip into the transfer market for another defender, that would suggest it’s the end for Mertesacker, who has made over 150 appearances for Arsenal since signing from Werder Bremen five years ago.
Before the 6’6″ centre back was at Bremen, he earned his stripes at Hannover and has spoken about ‘giving something back’ to the team that helped him earlier in his career.
Speaking to German media, he said:
It might be interesting for me to give something back to Hannover 96, because that was where it all began for me
It’s clear from those quotes that he’s certainly thinking that his Arsenal career might be coming to and end, despite being just 31 (yet seeming to have been around since 1995).
In all honesty, Mertesacker was once as solid a defender as you could find, but has looked way off the pace in big games over the last couple of years.
Jamie Vardy caused him all kinds of problems last season, while his tackle on Diego Costa earlier this year proved he is struggling to keep up with the pace of the Premier League.
Maybe it’s time for a return to Germany – or if that fails, Italy, where he’d be positively a spring chicken.