Per Mertesacker would welcome 'reward' of new contract at Arsenal

The Germany international says he is beginning to feel settled at the Etihad

German defender Per Mertesacker finally feels settled at Arsenal and would welcome the “reward” of a new contract offer.

The 6ft 6ins centre-back has grown in stature at the heart of the Gunners rearguard alongside Laurent Koscielny this season, the duo helping secure another clean sheet in the 2-0 win over Marseille at the Emirates Stadium which put Arsenal within touching distance of the last 16 of the Champions League.

The 29-year-old admits it took him a while to settle following a switch from Werder Bremen on transfer deadline day in August 2011, with an ankle injury later ruling him out of Euro 2012.

Now, though, Mertesacker - who has become a cult favourite with Arsenal supporters - intends to make the most of his consistent form to help drive the Gunners on to success both in the Barclays Premier League and in Europe.

"The first year was tough for me, a very tough challenge, but the club and the manager always trusted me in a special way," said Mertesacker.

"I think it is a little reward that we are talking (about a new contract), because I still have one-and-a-half years left.

"There is no rush, but it seems that some people are delighted with my performances at the moment. I am pleased with the situation."

Mertesacker, whose headed goal gave Germany a 1-0 friendly win over England at Wembley during the international break, recalled: "I went through a lot of difficulties and a lot of mistakes at the beginning, but the manager always said I would get through it because I was a good player.

"I took my time to settle down completely and there were a lot of reasons.

"I missed completely the pre-season (before joining Arsenal), so it was really hard because I had to work straight away to play straight away.

"It took me a while to get to that level, but the manager always trusted me and said I was intelligent enough to cope with problems.

"Then I got a big injury in my first year and I missed Euro 2012, so I was fit for my second season.

"Maybe it was a good thing that I missed the competition with Germany to train and get my body fit."

Despite beating whipping boys Marseille to stay top of Group F, Arsenal are not yet mathematically certain of a place in the knockout stages following Borussia Dortmund's win over Napoli.

The Gunners head to Italy on matchday six, and anything other than a three-goal defeat would see them progress while a draw would secure top spot and with it seeding for the knockout stages.

Arsenal had raced ahead inside 30 seconds against Marseille through a fine run and finish from Jack Wilshere.

It should have been 2-0 before half-time, but Mesut Ozil's tame penalty was saved.

The German playmaker did, however, put the crucial second goal on a plate for Wilshere, who swept home a perfectly-weighted ball across the six-yard box on 65 minutes.

Midfielder Mikel Arteta feels that shows the mental strength of the club's record signing, who has been under some scrutiny in recent weeks following a few indifferent displays.

"Penalties are very decisive moments," he said. "Only a detail makes it go in or out. I don't think it's about confidence."

Arteta - who is Arsenal's usual penalty taker, but was on the bench until the final 10 minutes - wants the team to quickly refocus on Saturday's Premier League game at Cardiff.

"Cardiff will be very tough. That is why we need to get back and prepare well for Saturday to make sure we get the points again," he said.

Midfielder Mathieu Flamini, meanwhile, was criticised by Wenger for cutting the sleeves off his shirt, going against club tradition.

The 29-year-old has settled quickly since his return to Arsenal on a free transfer this summer.

"I am not really surprised (it has gone well) because the philosophy is still the same," said Flamini, who was back from a one-match suspension.

"We are still playing the same football. Arsene Wenger is still here with the same conviction, for me on the pitch it is always the same game so it went very naturally."

PA

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
News
people
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape