According to reports, Arsene Wenger is willing to let Per Mertesacker move out on a loan. The former German international has been out since the start of the season with a knee injury during the pre-season. He hasn’t played a single game for the Gunners this season so far and Arsene Wenger’s decision to let him leave temporarily is quite understandable.
Wenger wants Mertesacker’s aged limbs to get some practice and match fitness before he gets back to the squad. Although Mertesacker has only six months left on his contract, Arsenal are likely to offer him an extension on a yearly basis.
But, letting Mertesacker go could prove to be fatal too. As has always been the case with the North London club, their injuries have always come in the most crucial of situations and in a bunch. A great example would be of their current midfield crisis. Arsenal started their Premier League campaign with arguably the best core of midfielders in the league. With the likes of Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka, in the squad, the boss should have no problem throughout the season, one should think.
But, the latest situation is that, while Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla are out with injuries, Mohamed Elneny is away at AFCON and Jack Wilshere is on loan at Bournemouth. The thick core has been reduced to two players, Ramsey and Xhaka, and that too at a time when the schedule is turning hectic.
Hence, even though it seems like, Arsenal have Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding and Gabriel Paulista available for the centre-half role, it could take just one match for Arsenal to get into some major crisis at the back. And no matter how unfit Mertesacker would be then, he would be much better than playing someone out of position at centre-back.
Koscielny and Mustafi have been nothing short of brilliant this season. The Gunners have conceded only 22 goals this season, a time when Petr Cech is having one of his worst spells in the league. We think, just as Arsenal have opted to sort out contract issues of their players without importing any new faces this winter, they should focus on getting Mertesacker fit by playing him in the Uner-23s. Chelsea did the same with Kurt Zouma and the results are positive.
Another major concern would be the right-back position. Arsenal have noticeably struggled in the right-back position in Bellerin’s absence and with players like Shkodran Mustafi already in the squad, who have considerable experience in the right back position, keeping centre-half would be a prudent decision.