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Per Mertesacker revealed he could have left Arsenal in the summer but stayed to take up an academy role at the Emirates.
The defender is set to retire at the end of the season and will immediately move into a new role as the head of academy.
When asked if he had the chance to leave the Emirates in the summer, Mertesacker confirmed he had a number of offers but turned them down to take up the academy role. He told the club’s official website [ via the Daily Cannon] :
“Certainly. I didn’t let it happen because it’s the final year of my contract and normally negotiations start in January as then I’m a free agent out of contract.
“I didn’t let it happen, so the club offered me that job one year before my contract ended. I didn’t have to consider much. I made my mind up, it was my own decision and I’ve not been distracted by anything else.
“I just wanted to get my own path and my own future right, the right thing for me and my family because it’s a big decision. Once I signed the contract, I signed up to the end of my career as well. It was a big decision for me.”
It’s encouraging to hear Mertesacker show his loyalty to the club who stood by him in recent years. It goes on to show he is not just the club’s captain but a leader who leads by examples.
Just recently, Mikel Arteta, Mertesacker’s predecessor left the club to join Man City coaching team, despite being offered a role in our academy.
Fans who have been calling for former players to be more involved in the day to day running of the club will be excited with Mertesacker’s decision.