Arsenal are making the wrong call with two injured stars – Cazorla and Mertesacker shouldn’t get new deals

Oct 23, 2014; Hertfordshire, UNITED KINGDOM; General view of the Arsenal Training Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2014; Hertfordshire, UNITED KINGDOM; General view of the Arsenal Training Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Arsenal want to re-sign Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla

Arsene Wenger have been forced to deal with a myriad of injuries to his squad this season, but that won’t stop him from bringing several of his injured stars back next season. In particular, the French gaffer wants to extend the contracts of both Santi Cazorla and Per Mertesacker in the coming weeks.

Sky Sports is reporting that Wenger plans to exercise extension clauses in the contracts of both men. Mertesacker hasn’t played at all this season due to a serious knee injury, while Cazorla has missed months due to an ankle ailment.

While I can understand why Wenger would want to bring the veterans back next season, neither should be a part of his plans moving forward. His propensity to show too much loyalty to players who have performed well for him in the past is rearing its ugly head again.

Mertesacker, in particular, seems like a really poor bet to recover his form. He’ll likely be 33-years-old before he plays his next match, and he wasn’t all good last year for Arsenal. His player rating average of 6.86 in 24 league matches didn’t exactly set England on fire.

It’s highly unlikely that Mertesacker will see much playing time of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi maintain fitness. That will leave him battling for Gabriel for the scraps of playing time left over from the starting pair. It’s easy to see Mertesacker becoming quite dissatisfied with that diminished role. Wenger would be much better off letting him depart this summer.

Cazorla’s case isn’t quite as cut and dry. The Gunners have really struggled to find the right midfield balance to complement the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the middle of Wenger’s lineup. When the Spaniard is fit, he does a nice job of serving a reasonable defensive role and keeping the ball moving for the Arsenal attack.

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Unfortunately, he isn’t fit all that often. He also happens to be 32-years-old at the moment. It’s difficult for midfielders to maintain their level of play once they approach their mid-30s. Betting on Cazorla to do so after recovering from a significant ankle injury just isn’t a solid bet.

Arsenal and Arsene Wenger need to wake up and realize that more of the same isn’t going to bring the Gunners a Premier League title. They need to bring in younger, more dynamic players into the squad this summer rather than hanging on to diminished veterans like Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla. It’s just the same old, same old for Arsenal.