It’s January so you would expect us to be talking about transfers, but so far it is all about contract renewals and non-renewals. Arsene Wenger has some positive news though…
Both Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla’s contracts are due to expire at the end of the season, but despite the pair both being 32 and having consistent injury problems, Wenger has suggested that the Gunners will be extending the contracts of the duo.
Asked if their contract extensions would be affected by their recent injury problems, the Arsenal boss said: “No. We have an option on both of them and I think we will take it.
“For their qualities as football players firstly but as well for their mental guidance. We need to have a balance between youth and experience. They are important in that.”
It seems it is certainly the latter reason for keeping Mertesacker around. Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding and Gabriel Paulista are all arguably ahead of the German in the pecking order at centre-back, so it does seem odd to keep Mertesacker around for longer, especially after his recent major injury. There’s also Calum Chambers who is due to come back into the frame next season, so Mertesacker’s renewal may throw into doubt the immediate futures of both Chambers and Gabriel.
In Cazorla’s case, the player has obvious quality. Arsenal play much better with him in the team and you can see why Wenger is keen to extend his contract. The worry is that the Spaniard has struggled for some time to stay fit consistently, with the midfield maestro often picking up a long-term injury over the busy festive period, a time where the Gunners title charge often derails. It makes you wonder whether Arsenal should just cut ties with the aging midfielder and attempt to move on from him and build a new system, rather than try to rely on him, only for an injury to cause major disruption.
What do you think about the news that both Mertesacker and Cazorla are set to stay beyond this season? Have your say in the comments section below.