Mertesacker wants Arsenal renewal

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Per Mertesacker is eager to sign a new deal with Arsenal amid suggestions he could return to the Bundesliga at the end of the season.

The 32-year-old's contract is due to expire in June 2017 and his former clubs Werder Bremen and Hannover are keeping a close eye on his situation.

But Mertesacker is set to disappoint his suitors as he wants to stay at Emirates Stadium.

"A renewal with Arsenal is my absolute priority," the German told Spox.

"But we have not made an appointment yet to discuss a new deal.

"Arsenal are my top priority and everything else is just speculation."

Mertesacker, who arrived at the club in 2011, has nothing but praise for French boss Arsene Wenger.

"Wenger should be immune to any public criticism. He has been at Arsenal for 20 years, helping the club develop step by step," he added.

"Where else do you still see this? You should look at the bigger picture and he deserves nothing but respect.

"The media are too quick to criticise in my opinion. It is all about results. One day they are celebrating a big win over Ludogorets and then three days later there is criticism after a draw with Middlesbrough.

"How much will the team, the coach and the club have changed during these three days to merit such a different opinion?"