Per Mertesacker was once an irreplaceable cog in the Arsenal wheel, but the towering German has yet to feature for the north Londoners this season and is quickly becoming a spare part.
The 32-year-old’s slide has become so steep that The Sun have even suggested that an exit could be on the cards, with the Die Mannschaft international’s former club Hannover 96 ready to welcome him back.
Although the Reds are currently plying their trade in Germany’s second tier and appear in no position to make Mertesacker a substantial offer, it’s not completely inconceivable that the centre-half could quit the Emirates.
Summer signing Shkodran Mustafi has settled into a partnership with Laurent Koscielny with impressive comfort.
In the six all-competition starts the pair have made together the Gunners are yet to lose. They have also kept a clean sheet in the most recent three.
Gabriel Paulista is a natural backup to that pair having recovered from the ankle injury he suffered in pre-season, while Rob Holding, another off-season acquisition, can develop as the fourth-choice option.
With Mertesacker not expected to be back in action until next year, it leaves little room for the veteran defender to muscle his way back into the first team.
His contract expires this coming summer, so it would seem an opportune time for both parties to go their separate ways after 207 games of service in all competitions.
Arsenal’s next match after the international break is a home game against struggling Swansea. We go 1/4 that the Gunners secure a sixth league win in succession.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing