Arsenal are considering the option of sending Per Mertesacker on loan in January. The 32-year-old is yet to play this season after injuring a knee in a friendly in July.
Mertesacker, world cup winner with Germany, suffered a setback on his return to training this month as he picked up a fresh calf problem. He is several weeks away from returning to fitness and no deadline has been set for when he can play for the Gunners again.
On top of that, Mertesacker’s deal expires in the summer, and he is unlikely to get many opportunities before the end of the season. Arsenal want their captain to continue with them, and that is why the club are looking to give him the chance to prove that he deserves a new contract.
The 32-year-old, who earns around £70,000-per-week, is eager to stay at Arsenal, but he understands that there is competition for places with Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Paulista all being regular starters for the club.
“A new Arsenal contract has absolute priority for me. But no dates have been set [for talks],” Mertesacker told Spox, back in November. “Arsenal has the highest priority for me. Everything else is pure speculation, and I won’t join the discussion.”
According to reports from the Times, Arsenal will assess the fitness of Mertesacker and keep their options open till the end of this month’s transfer window. If the German is not deemed fit to be named in the squad for the Champions League knockout stages before February 1, Arsenal will allow him to join any club on loan.
In all probability, Arsenal will not send him to a direct rival Premier League club. A return to Germany is most likely. Arsène Wenger is open to extending Mertesacker’s contract, provided he proves his form and fitness during the rest of the season.