Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Per Mertesacker has signed a one-year contract extension at Arsenal.
The 32-year-old centre-back’s deal was set to expire this summer, but the club have taken up the option to tie him to another 12 months.
“He has an option that we have taken. There was no negotiation, just an option that we have taken,” said Wenger.
The defender has been missing with a knee problem, but is set to return to action.
“He’s back in training, not with the squad, but he’s two weeks away now,” said Wenger.
“With the number of games we have it’s important that we have all our experienced players back and that everybody is focused to do well.
“We’re going through a moment of truth now, January until May is five months to go. You want ideally all your players with big experience back in your squad.”
Mertesacker replaced Mikel Arteta as the club’s skipper after the Spaniard retired at the end of last season and took up a coaching role at Manchester City.
Arteta was sidelined with a number of injuries for much of his spell with the armband, but Wenger insists the same fate will not befall his current captain.
“It’s completely accidental,” he said of the German’s knee problem.
“With Arteta, it’s true that he struggled with muscular problems, but Per was accidental.
“It was a knee problem but he has recovered from that, so there’s no reason why he should be injured again.”
Mertesacker faces a fight to get back into the team once he is fit. His German compatriot Shkodran Mustafi, a big-money summer signing from Valencia, has built a strong understanding with vice-captain Laurent Koscielny at the heart of Wenger’s defence.
Mertesacker arrived from Werder Bremen in August 2011 for a fee of £9.6million and has played 149 times in the Premier League for the Gunners.