Arsenal FC: Do the Gunners Need Per Mertesacker?
Ever since Per Mertesacker's fantastic performances in the 2010 World Cup, Arsenal have been repeatedly linked with a move for the Werder Bremen stopper.
He was quoted as saying that a transfer to England was an "attractive one" in Die Welt newspaper; however his main concern in the present is avoiding the drop with Bremen. They sit in 12th place in the Bundesliga, four points off the relegation zone with just seven games left to play.
The 6ft 6 Hanoverian would be exactly the type of defender Arsenal need to improve their, at times, fragile defence. Mertesacker's tall frame makes him ideal for defending set-pieces, something which Arsenal desperately need to improve, plus he has a knack for scoring headers from attacking set pieces.
In addition, his clean style of play means he doesn't tend to pick up many cards. Throughout his 154 club appearances since 2003, he has picked up just ten yellow cards and two red.
His qualities make it very hard for Arsenal fans not to think that he would be their defensive savior, given their problems this season, but will Arsene Wenger go for him?
The gunners do have defensive quality in their squad though.
Johan Djourou has been a revelation this campaign. Wenger has brought him back in the squad, after a lengthy injury layoff, in superb fashion. Wenger has been guilty of rushing players back to the first eleven at times, but seems to have learnt from experience. He's done exactly the same with Robin van Persie and he's turned out to be Arsenal's goalscoring talisman.
Laurent Koscielny's form has yo-yoed somewhat in his first Premier League season. He's received two red and six yellow in the League alone. However his one-on-one challenges have saved Arsenal many times, including magnificent performances over the two legs against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.
Sebastien Squillaci hasn't exactly captured the imaginations of the fans either. His performances at times have just not been good enough for an experienced international.
Last but not least, there's Thomas Vermaelen. When he plays, Arsenal's defence greatly improves. Had he not been injured, Arsenal would not have conceded as many goals and subsequently have more points. Maybe more trophies even.
Wenger did say in January, when he looked into buying defensive cover, that he was reluctant to have a fifth centre back in the squad. But because of the Gunners' habit of having an injury crisis every campaign, another strong centre back would be much needed reinforcement.
Per Mertesacker would surely be the missing piece to the puzzle.
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