Mertesacker wants to work with Arteta again as speculation builds regarding Arsenal manager change

Amid the questioning of Unai Emery’s ongoing presence at Arsenal, the Gunners’ academy manager Per Mertesacker has revealed that he would like the chance to work with Mikel Arteta again.

The German was a team-mate of the current Manchester City assistant coach between 2011 and 2016.

Both men have since hung up their books and moved into roles off the field, but it could be that their paths cross again at some point, with Arteta considered to be ready for a top managerial role after learning the ropes under Pep Guardiola.

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He has been linked with Arsenal in the past, and Mertesacker would be among those to welcome him back to Emirates Stadium.

The World Cup winner told FourFourTwo: “I was his vice-captain at Arsenal and he trusted me.

“I was by his side during team meetings and we had a great bond. I'd love to work with him again, a top guy.”

Arteta was first mooted as a candidate to take the reins at Arsenal when Arsene Wenger announced that he would be leaving in 2018.

Mertesacker remains a big fan of the French tactician who spent 22 years in north London and helped to turn the Gunners into a heavyweight outfit at home and abroad.

Arsene Wenger Arsenal 2017-18
Arsene Wenger Arsenal 2017-18

He added on Wenger: "He has an aura – it’s difficult to explain.

"He demands a lot, but makes you feel comfortable, too. It’s about trust. In hard times, he was a rock protecting us. I’ll always be very grateful to him."

Wenger was the man to sign Mertesacker in 2011, with the commanding centre-half going on to take in over 200 appearances for Arsenal.

Having previously represented Hannover and Werder Bremen, while earning 104 caps for his country, a popular figure was fortunate enough to play alongside a number of top talents.

When piecing together an XI made up of former team-mates, Mertesacker picked Laurent Koscielny at centre-half.

He said of the Frenchman, who left the Gunners over the summer: “We formed the best partnership of my career.

Laurent Koscielny Arsenal
Laurent Koscielny Arsenal

"Laurent complemented my game and I loved our time together. It was sad to see him leave Arsenal the way he did, because he deserved a better legacy.

"All of the fans will soon appreciate him and everything he did for the club, because there are always two sides to a story."

Among those charged with adding creativity to his side were Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla, with Mertesacker saying of a Czech playmaker: "A special footballer and a fantastic guy. One of my first games was against him when he was at Borussia Dortmund. He was tough to stop, so I was really glad to have him as a team-mate at Arsenal."

He added on Spanish schemer Cazorla: "One hell of a footballer - in training it was ridiculous! It's sad when a naturally gifted player struggles with injury. Santi didn't look like an athlete and wasn't fast, but he could do everything."

Per Mertesacker's XI: Robert Enke, Clemens Fritz, Naldo, Laurent Koscielny, Philipp Lahm, Tomas Rosicky, Michael Ballack, Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Miroslav Klose, Claudio Pizarro.

Bench: Torsten Frings, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski.

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