Arsenal will not allow Per Mertesacker to leave the club on loan for the remainder of the season despite rumours of a loan move, according to The Mirror.
What’s the story?
Mertesacker has not played a single minute after missing the first half of the campaign with a knee injury that he suffered in pre-season.
The 32-year-old is on his way back to full fitness, but it is not yet certain when the centre-back will be available to feature in Arsene Wenger’s team.
The Times has reported that Mertesacker could return to his homeland Germany on loan until the end of the season in order to gain some minutes, but The Mirror thinks otherwise.
According to the publication, Arsenal have no plans to let the defender leave and instead intend to keep Mertesacker so that he can reach optimum fitness under their guidance.
Should Arsenal let him go?
By the time Mertesacker recovers in time to play first-team football, it will take a handful of matches for him to regain sharpness, but he is unlikely to get that at Arsenal.
Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny are Wenger’s preferred centre-back pairing, with Gabriel Paulista another option, and Mertesacker is unlikely to force his way into the reckoning, particularly as the Gunners will want consistency as they continue their title bid.
The World Cup winner comes to the end of his current contract in the summer, and if he wants fresh terms, it would help for him to prove his ability on the pitch.
At the moment, it seems as though the only way he is going to do that is on loan elsewhere, but if reports are to be believed, Arsenal could deny him that.
Of course, it could be a case of Mertesacker wanting to stay and fight for his place, but as mentioned above, it will be difficult for him to succeed in that scenario, unless a big injury is suffered to the defence.