With his contract set to expire at the end of the year, Per Mertesacker and Arsenal have agreed on a one-year contract extension that effective shuts the door on a potential loan or transfer this month. In a wrinkle that appears to have not been public knowledge, Mertesacker's contract already had a club option for an extension built into it:
Mertesacker's contract was due to expire in the summer.
Wenger added: "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."
What this means is that the club will, when Mertesacker is fit enough for selection, have five center backs at their disposal (Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Mertesacker, Gabriel, and Rob Holding), and with Mertesacker set to stay through next season there potentially could be six center backs if Calum Chambers is added to that mix.
While this isn't the worst problem in the world to have it makes me question the future of Gabriel at Arsenal, and if Rob Holding will be the next center back to go out on loan. Holding has impressed in the few appearances he's made, but there's little doubt he'd benefit from consistent matches and the odds he gets those next season at Arsenal appear to be small.
In any case, BFG is here to stay for another 12-plus months, and that's not a bad thing.