The Arsenal manager has had a number of problems at centre-back this season, with the long-term injury of Thomas Vermaelen, the intermittent appearances of Johan Djourou and the unconvincing performances of Sébastien Squillaci all affecting the team’s balance and mutual understanding.
Wenger made a bid for Mertesacker in the winter transfer window, but the giant 6’6″ German decided to stick with Werder Bremen until the end of the season. The commanding centre-back, who at just 26 has already won 73 caps for Germany since making his debut in 2004, has been with Bremen for 5 years, but despite finishing 3rd in the Bundesliga last season, Die Werderaner are currently languishing in 12th place, 12 points from the Europa League and 18 points from the Champions League positions.
As such, Mertesacker seems likely to move on from Bremen in the summer, as his contract expires in 2012 and he has thus far not indicated that he will sign an extension; the German outfit would rather he leave this year while they can still command a fee for their rangy defender, rather than allowing him to leave on a Bosman next June.
The player himself is keen on playing in England but is delaying his final call on a move until the end of the season,
“England has been an issue for a few years now, but I cannot make a decision yet.
“Of course the Premier League is attractive, but right now there is only one issue for me and that is avoiding the drop.”
Arsenal would be required to pay a fee of around £8.5million for Mertesacker, but for a player of his experience and quality, such a sum would most likely prove a very worthwhile investment.
The German would undoubtedly improve the Arsenal squad; he is a solid dependable and assured centre-back, with an excellent goal-scoring record for a defender (around 1 goal every 10/11 games) and a level of experience on the highest stage (he has played in the Champions League, as well as World Cups 2006 and 2010 and the 2008 European Championships) that would put him at ease with the expectations and pressure of playing for Arsenal.
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