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Mertesacker in talks with Arsenal about non-playing role for next season

‘I am motivated, but I cannot play every three days any more. I don’t want to stretch my luck.’

Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

PER MERTESACKER HAS revealed he intends to retire and is in talks with Arsenal over remaining at the club in a non-playing role.

Towering centre-back Mertesacker struggled with a knee injury during 2016-17 and made his first start in over a year as Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 to win the FA Cup last weekend.

The 32-year-old was called upon by Arsene Wenger with Laurent Koscielny (suspended), Gabriel (injury) and Shkodran Mustafi (illness) all unavailable and he turned in a commanding display as the Premier League champions were denied a double.

It looks set to be the final game of Mertesacker’s career, with the World Cup-winning former Germany international admitting he cannot handle the rigours of the modern game.

“I was extremely lucky with my career and I want to finish on a high,” Mertesacker told Sport1.

“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.

“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.”

Mertesacker joined Arsenal from Werder Bremen in 2011 and has since made 210 appearances for the club in all competitions, winning three FA Cups.

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