Per Mertesacker, one of the heroes of Arsenal’s FA Cup triumphs, is hoping for a good, ‘possibly last’ season at Arsenal, before deciding whether he wants to continue playing or go into retirement. Mertesacker, speaking with NDR ahead of a charity game at his old club, Hannover, also did not rule out playing for them.
Yet what is most interesting and pertinent are the discussions he has had with Arsenal: “Arsenal would like to keep me, as there are already talks: it will be in the operational business, I would be on the other side.” Interestingly, Mertesacker ruled out coaching two years ago in an interview with the Guardian, but perhaps his year out on the sidelines changed his outlook. Looking at the influence Mertesacker has had, both as club captain and as one of the leaders on the field, and on players like Rob Holding, it’s not hard to see how Mertesacker would be suited as a coach, much like Mikel Arteta, one of Pep Guardiola’s assistants.
Arsene Wenger has routinely been criticized for not bringing former players into the fold, though often by people who are bad at their jobs and believe they deserve a job because they played for the club. Bringing Mertesacker into the fold, and perhaps Freddie Ljungberg, who moved with Andries Jonker, would go a long way to addressing one of the concerns of angry, attention seeking middle-aged men.