Arsenal have extended the contract of Per Mertesacker by one year. No new terms were agreed as the club took up a team option for a year extension that was built into his deal. Without the option, Mertesacker’s contract would have expired this summer.
Mertesacker has yet to make an appearance this season due to a knee injury he sustained during pre-season training. However, the club captain has been a stabilizing presence since joining the club during a turbulent time for the club in 2011. The experience, leadership, and stability that Mertesacker brings to the locker room is both why Arsene Wenger made him club captain and extended his deal.
“He is a leader of the team and he is also one of the four center backs who has experience and can guide the team.
“There were no negotiations in fact, because he had an option for extension. So it’s not really a new contract, it’s just an extension of the old one. We had to take that option early in the season and the decision was made quite easily.”
Despite Mertesacker’s prolonged absence and the emergence of the younger Shkodran Mustafi, Wenger believes the former German international still has an important role to play for the club on the field.
“On the pitch he has his own technical attributes, that is his reading of the game, his intelligence, his guidance. He’s good in the air because of his size.
“Mentally, he’s a guy who brings a level of urgency into the team, a level of focus, a level of desire to do well and he’s very demanding with the people around him. He’s very respected as well and that’s why he gets a lot from the players around him.”
Mertesacker is a World Cup winner. He’s made 208 senior appearances for the club and has scored 8 times. Since signing for the club in 2011, Mertesacker has won two FA Cups.
Mertesacker is the latest Arsenal player to have his deal extended. Last week, the French trio of Francis Coquelin, Laurent Koscielny, and Olivier Giroud signed new long-term deals. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Özil, Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, Yaya Sanogo, and out-on-loan Wojciech Szczesny, Jack Wilshere, and Joel Campbell all have deals expiring in 6 to eighteen months.
Like Mertesacker, Cazorla has a year extension option built in his contract, but the club are waiting due to the Spaniards lingering Achilles problems. Also like Mertesacker, Cazorla’s deal is set to expire this summer.
Debuchy, Sanogo, and Campbell are all likely to leave the club this summer. Gibbs, Wilshere, Szczesny may join them, although they could still have a future at the club. Arsenal are actively trying to sign Özil, Sanchez, and Oxlade-Chamberlain to new deals.