Arsenal have made their list of players released public on Friday, and among others, it contains the names of Per Mertesacker, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere.
Mertesacker has retired from playing professional football at a relatively disappointing age of 33. However, the former Germany international has been plagued with injuries and his decision to stop playing is certainly not without reason. He made as little as 12 appearances for Arsenal last season, while in 2016/17 he took to the pitch only twice.
However, the story of Mertesacker and Arsenal does not end here. At the club they feel the 6’6″ former centre-back can still contribute significantly, and they have therefore decided to offer him a coaching role to keep him at the Emirates.
Cazorla has fared even worse than Mertesacker injury-wise. A knee injury, an Achilles tendon tear, eight surgery procedures on the ankle only to contract gangrene at the end of it and have the football world fear he would never walk again let alone play… These unbelievably unlucky circumstances made his life at the Emirates miserable in the last few seasons. He played only 11 times in 2016/17, while last season he didn’t make a single appearance.
He has now recovered, seemingly in full, but as it’s been a while since Arsenal seriously counted on him, his departure seems like a logical move. He has gone back for a third spell with Villareal, the club where he started his professional career.
There has been a lot of guesswork over the last few months regarding the future of Jack Wilshere, until he announced last week he had rejected Arsenal’s offer of a new deal and decided to try his luck elsewhere. Presented with not only reduced wages but also game-time significantly reduced, the midfielder thinks it’s best for him and the club to part ways.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he revealed he’s not ruling out a move abroad as well as that he loves the competitiveness of the Premier League. He hasn’t made a decision on his next club and is in no rush to do so. Juventus, AC Milan and West Ham have all been linked with an interest in his services.
It’s a completely different situation with Calum Chambers. The defender is currently in advanced talks over signing a new deal with Arsenal, and as manager Unai Emery seeks to revamp the defence with the signings of the experienced duo of Stephan Lichtsteiner and Sokratis Papastathopoulos to complement the existing young defensive core, Chambers committing his future to the club would certainly be good news.
Chambers has been an Arsenal player for four years now, and as he had already spent over a year at Southampton at the time if his arrival, it’s very easy to forget that he’s still only 23 years old. In the light of captain Laurent Koscielny likely to be out for the rest of the year, Arsenal will have to try and use their youngsters at the back as much as possible.