Arsenal are ready to let Per Merstesacker go out on loan, according to reports.
According to the Telegraph, Arsenal are ready to let Mertesacker go out on loan in order for him to prove that he deserves a new contract. The German’s contract expires at the end of this season, although there is the option of a one-year extension.
Arsene Wenger confirmed last week that Arsenal were likely to take up that option on both Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla’s contracts, but the Telegraph claim that Arsenal will thoroughly assess Mertesacker’s fitness and readiness to return to the first team.
The German defender has not played a single minute for Arsenal this season, after picking up a serious injury in a pre-season friendly against Lens. Mertesacker had to undergo knee surgery following the injury, and at the time Arsene Wenger said that he would return only in December. However, it now appears that Mertesacker is still 3 or 4 weeks away from being ready to play.
The Telegraph say that if the former Germany player is not deemed fit enough to be named in the squad for the Champions League knockout stages by UEFA’s deadline of February 1, then Arsenal will look at the possibility of sending him out on loan in order to gain match fitness.
The 32-year-old is believed to be eager to stay at Arsenal, but after six months out he knows that he is no longer considered first choice. Given the strong partnership formed by summer signing Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny, he is “willing to consider the challenge of proving his enduring ability elsewhere.”
They also state that Arsenal are unlikely to allow Mertesacker to join a team in the English Premier League, and that a temporary return to Germany for the towering defender is a strong possibility. The defender himself has previously stated that he is open to leaving in January.
However, should Mertesacker prove his fitness before the Feb 1st deadline, it is likely that Arsene Wenger will want to keep him around. Arsenal have already had to play a make-shift defence on a few occasions this season, and having the option of calling on the German should there be another defensive crisis will be a big boost for Arsene Wenger.