When the summer transfer window slammed shut, Arsene Wenger just about managed to bring in a much-needed centre-back to bolster his options at the back, with the deadline day arrival of Shkodran Mustafi.
Arsenal were left short of defensive options early in the season, with key injuries to Gabriel and Per Mertesacker leaving Wenger with little choice but to promote youngster Rob Holding into the starting line-up.
However, if Wenger had hoped that Mustafi's £35 million arrival would help to strengthen the centre of his defence in the long term - when Gabriel and Mertesacker return to full fitness - he could be wrong.
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Mertesacker has yet to feature for the Gunners this campaign, after suffering a knee injury during pre-season, but the chances of the former Germany international returning to the starting XI look increasingly slim.
Mustafi has forced his way into Wenger's thinking with considerable ease, also taking into account Arsenal's injury woes, but Mertesacker is likely to return to the Gunners bench, when he finally does make a full recovery.
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But if Wenger was considering offering the 32-year-old a new deal to keep him at the Emirates beyond the end of the season, when his contract expires, it has been reported that the centre-back has discussed a potential return to the Bundesliga.
Mertesacker spent five years at Werder Bremen before joining Arsenal in 2011, and the club's captain Clemens Fritz, claims to have already spoken with the Gunners defender, about a return to his native Germany.
“We've talked about it [a return to Bremen]. It would be a good thing for the club.” Fritz told Bild, as per The Independent.
But despite Fritz claiming he and the Arsenal defender had already discussed a potential Bundesliga return, Mertesacker has contradicted the Bremen captain's claims.
“I believe that I can reach a level again on which I am important for the team. I have the feeling that this is not the end." said Mertesacker.
“The more time I allow my knee, the longer I'll be able to play football. I can increase the workload already and I am no longer in pain.”
The Premier League title has continued to evade Mertesacker during his time in north London, but whether the German will stay put to help the Gunners win the trophy they haven't lifted since 2004 could be dependant on Wenger's future.
Arsenal could await a decision on the Frenchman's job before putting a new deal forward for Mertesacker, who can hold preliminary contract talks with other European clubs from January.
Should Per Mertesacker be offered a new Arsenal contract, considering his age and injuries? Have your say in the comment box below.
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