Arsenal transfer news: Per Mertesacker playing for his place as Arsene Wenger eyes Alessio Romagnoli

The 20-year-old Roma starlet is being lined up to replace the German

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Out-of-form Per Mertesacker is playing for his Arsenal future as Arsene Wenger considers a move for another central defender, according to reports.

The Gunners' manager spent £11.2m on the Brazilian centre-back Gabriel Paulista during the January transfer window, but the 24-year-old has made just three league appearances and is now set to miss three weeks with a hamstring injury.

According to the Telegraph Wenger is eager to bolster his defensive options further in the summer and Mertesacker could be deemed surplus to requirements at the Emirates.


Since winning the World Cup in the summer the 30-year-old has struggled to recapture the form he showed last season, enduring a torrid night in the Champions League against Monaco that led to him being dropped for the Gunners' victory over Everton.

If he cannot prove his worth to Wenger by the end of this campaign a move back to Germany is the most likely option.

A possible replacement is Roma's highly-rated 20-year-old Alessio Romagnoli. The Italian newspaper La Republica reports that the Italy U-21 defender has impressed the Arsenal manager, and with the player out of contract in the summer he could be available on a free transfer.