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English Premiership

Mertesacker staying, but not as a player

Arsenal skipper Per Mertesacker in a previous match

LONDON, United Kingdom, June 3 – Per Mertesacker looks set to bow out of the game on a high after revealing he is negotiating a non-playing role to stay at Arsenal.

The World Cup winner endured a frustrating season on the sidelines with a troublesome knee injury, which saw him make just one start – the FA Cup final against Chelsea.

Mertesacker was his assured self at the back for the Gunners as they went on to record a surprise 2-1 win over the Premier League champions at Wembley and claim a record 13th title.

But the 32-year-old centre-back concedes he can no longer cope with the demands of top-flight football and feels he will be better served by hanging up his boots, although manager Arsene Wenger wants him to stay at the Emirates Stadium.

“I was extremely lucky with my career and I want to finish on a high,” the German 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 [Arsene 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.”

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