Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky sign Arsenal contracts - but future of Bacary Sagna thrown into doubt
Mertesacker had a year left on his old contract while Rosicky was free to leave this summer but both have committed their future to the Gunners
Tuesday 04 March 2014
Arsenal have announced that defender Per Mertesacker and midfielder Tomas Rosicky have both signed new contracts to keep them at the north London club, although the future of Bacary Sagna has been thrown into even further doubt as a new deal was not announced for the right-back.
Mertesacker has become an integral figure in the Gunners defence, with the Germany international forming a strong partnership with fellow centre-back Laurent Koscielny. Having joined Arsenal in 2011, Mertesacker was contracted until the end of next season, but fans will be delighted that he has elected to extend his deal beyond the summer of 2015.
Rosicky meanwhile has been rewarded for his hard work and recent impressive form, having started and finished a sublime goal in the 4-1 victory over Sunderland two weekends’ ago.
The Czech Republic captain endured an injury-hit start to his Gunners career after joining the club in 2006 following the World Cup in Germany, but has gone on to become a key part of Arsene Wenger’s plans, with the Arsenal manager showing a preference to starting Rosicky in the Gunners’ biggest matches.
Despite Rosicky entering the latter years of his contract – the midfielder turns 34 in October this year – Wenger has shown a desire to keep him at the Emirates, with his previous contract expiring at the end of this season.
“We are delighted that Mertesacker and Rosicky have committed their futures to the club,Wenger told the club’s official website.
“They are players of exceptional quality and experience, and have consistently proven themselves at the highest level. There is a great feeling of togetherness and belief in the group and this news will only help to strengthen this further.”
Mertesacker provides the Arsenal squad with a wealth of experience, having made 95 appearances for Germany since making his international debut in 2004. The 6ft 6in defender revealed that he feels “a real Gunner” and stressed his proudness at being tied down to the club until 2017.
“It was easy for me to commit myself to the club,” Mertesacker said.
“I have been here for two-and-a-half great years and feel I have great support from everyone at the club and the fans. I'm really looking forward to having more years coming up with this fantastic club. We have a great team here and we all want to do our best to win trophies.
“I have become a real Gunner...I am truly thankful to the club and all the supporters for the time I have had here so far. And today I am deeply proud to have extended my contract with Arsenal. I'm proud to be a Gunner.”
Mertesacker even posted a picture on his official Twitter account of him as a young boy wearing an Arsenal shirt, captioned: “ As a young boy and now-very proud to be a gunner! Thanks fans for your support. Happy to have extended with @Arsenal”
Rosicky also stressed his happiness at extending his contract by an additional two years, and despite the addition this season of Mesut Ozil plus the rapid improvement of Aaron Ramsey, Rosicky has gone on to make 27 appearances already this season when it did look first-team opportunities could pass him by this season.
“I'm very happy that I'm staying at the club,” Rosicky said. “ I'm proud that I'm still here after a long time and that it still continues. I'm glad I'm here at Arsenal and we're all trying our best to win trophies for the club and our supporters.
“Ever since I arrived at Arsenal, I have always felt that I'm at the right place where I want to be. I still feel this way now and I'm proud that after such a long time I'm still here and will continue. One big factor is that I want to win the league with Arsenal.”
The news does make Sagna’s exit appear much more likely this summer though with the Frenchman’s contract expiring at the end of the season. Arsenal have shown a preference in the past to announce multiple new contracts at the same time – last season’s announcement of five new deals for home-grown stars Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson is a prime example – but it is believed that talks remain at a stalemate over Sagna’s future.
Another whose future remains unclear is Wenger himself. The 64-year-old is expected to take his reign at the club into an 18th year, though many thought an announcement over a contract extension was due weeks ago.
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