Date: 19th January 2017 at 10:54am
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Arsene Wenger has confirmed Arsenal have extended the contract of Per Mertesacker, which will keep him at the club into next season.

The club had an option on an extended deal by a year so this – no negotiations were needed – has been taken up with Wenger revealing this on Thursday morning.

Speaking in his conference – quoted by the Daily Express – ahead of the visit from Burnley on Sunday the Arsenal boss confirmed this news and said the German defender should be fit to return to first team training within a couple of week.

‘He has an option that we have taken. There was no negotiation, just an option that we have taken. He`s back in training, not with the squad, but he`s two weeks away now.’

Wenger added his availability with so many games coming up could prove crucial as will his experience.

‘With the number of games we have it`s important that we have all our experienced players back and that everybody is focused to do well. We`re going through a moment of truth now, January until May is five months to go. You want ideally all your players with big experience back in your squad.’

Compatriot Shkodran Mustafi who has said his fellow 2014 World Cup winner with Germany has helped him settle in to life at Arsenal and praised the influence of 32 year old Mertesacker.

Despite the fact Mustafi hasn’t played alongside the club captain for the Gunners – obviously owing to the Mertesacker injury – he has played a key role since the former Everton defender arrived in the summer.

Mustafi told arsenal.com.

‘Per helped me a lot. When I had just arrived, having a person at the club with so much experience and with the personality he has helped me a lot. He helps me on the pitch because when he sees things, he corrected me a few times. He`s not just the type of player who says, ‘You didn`t do that well enough` or, ‘You have to do it this way`, he tells you why. In the short time that I worked with him in the national team, I learned a lot from him.’

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