Five perfect replacements for this ageing Arsenal star

Per Mertesacker is a vital figure in the Arsenal team.

Mertesacker is Arsenal’s captain when Mikel Arteta isn’t in the side, which is fairly often due to injury, and the Gunners’ players clearly respect and admire the German World Cup winner.

Mertesacker stands at 6ft. 6″ and has an aerial duel success rate of 77%. Despite being famously slow, the towering centre-back manages to control the defence, and the Arsenal back four always looks stronger when he is in the side. He boasts passing accuracy of 89%, too.

These stats show how vital he is to the Arsene Wenger’s men. Mertesacker has lots of experience and has a great partnership with Laurent Koscielny.

The big German won’t last forever though, and at 32-years-old, Arsenal will be looking to sign a replacement for him in the near future. Gabriel was snapped up from Villarreal in January last year, but the Brazilian has never looked very confident.

So here, I take a look at FIVE Mertesacker alternatives.

Rafael Varane

Can Varane fill the gap?

Varane is an extremely talented defender.

The young Frenchman has plenty of years ahead of him and already has lots of experience. Like Mertesacker, Varane is very strong in the air and and composed on the ball. The 23-year-old has been capped 28 times by the French national team and of course has a host of international team-mates in the Arsenal squad.

Varane would be the perfect player for Arsenal for the next few years, and is certainly good enough to play in the Premier League – he’s only being kept out of the Real Madrid side by world class defenders such as Pepe and Sergio Ramos.

Konstantinos Manolas

This "Man" definitely can star for Arsenal

Greek star Manolas has been a rock at the back of the Roma defence this season, playing 35 matches so far, in front of on-loan Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Manolas is a strong figure at the back in Italy and is constantly improving. He would be an expensive signing for Arsenal if they were to look at him, but he would surely be worth it.

Manolas has won the Greek league on two occasions and Arsenal will want to bring some winning mentality to their squad.

Samuel Umtiti

Young. Strong. Quick. What is Wenger waiting for?

Samuel Umtiti has been the subject of many transfer rumours in recent years.

You may remember Umtiti for his world-class goal at White Hart Lane during the 2012/13 season in the Europa League for Lyon. Umtiti is incredibly versatile and is calm when under pressure. He has been a regular starter for Lyon for years now and has now adapted to professional football.

If Arsenal don’t sign him, I’m sure another big club won’t hesitate to!

Matthias Ginter

Ginter the Gooner

At 22, Ginter has accomplished quite a lot.

The Borussia Dortmund centre back has already won the World Cup along with two Bundesliga titles and the German cup. Ginter may be young, but he is one of the best defenders in the world at the moment.

Of course Dortmund would be very reluctant to sell their star, especially with Mats Hummels leaving, but if Arsenal are serious about challenging for the league, they will have to spend money. Ginter is perhaps the perfect defender and completely suits Arsenal’s style.

Aymeric Laporte

Laporte from Athletic to Arsenal

Yet another Frenchman who would suit Arsenal here, Aymeric Laporte.

Young, strong and technically gifted, Laporte has been a star in La Liga this year for Athletic Bilbao and has even scored a couple of goals. Laporte has Europa League experience and will surely look to further his career. The Premier League is the goal for most footballers these days and despite Arsenal’s lack of success in recent years, few could turn down the chance to play their football at the Emirates. Laporte could be a great figure at the back for Arsenal and has many years ahead of him.