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Per Mertesacker has given everyone a jolt when he announced that he is getting ready to retire from playing and take up a backroom role at Arsenal.
The defender made the shocking announcement in an interview with German publication Sport1, as he revealed that the stress of the game his sapping away his strength.
Mertesacker was out with a crucial knee ligament injury for the entirety of the 2016-17 season (except for two appearances in the Gunners last two fixtures of the season) but the Germany international mentioned that he does not feel he can continue playing beyond this season.
He explained: “I was extremely lucky with my career and I want to finish on a high. I am motivated, but I cannot play every three days any more. I don’t want to stretch my luck.
“I recently told him [Wenger] that I am tired, mentally wasted. The first time in my career I thought it makes no sense anymore, that I’ll retire. No matter how hard I practiced I didn’t get a chance.
“At Arsenal you are replaceable so quickly as a player, I don’t want to stand in someone’s way. Winning the FA Cup was an extreme close which I could not expect.”
Mertesacker, who is just 32 years of age, still has a contract valid till the summer of 2018 with Arsenal and he could be play for another season if so desires. The former Werder Bremen player, however, seems much likely to be bringing an end to his playing career and his appearance in Arsenal’s FA Cup victory over Premier League champions Chelsea last Saturday would likely be his last.
The centre-back, who has a record of 209 appearances across seven seasons with the north London club, is far from ready to bid his temporary home farewell, and he revealed he is currently in talks with the hierarchy at Emirates and planning on other ways he could help the club move forward as the club are also reluctant to let him go.
He added: “Arsenal want to keep hold of me and there are already talks. It will be in the business operations. I will stand on the other side”.