Hannover 96 have discussed a potential move for Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker who began his career at the German club.
The centre-back is currently recovering from a knee injury picked up in pre-season and has admitted he is unsure about his future but hopes he can still play an important role for the Gunners.
Mertesacker’s current deal expires in the summer but Hannover have downplayed a move for the 32-year-old as they are currently in the second tier of German football having been relegated last season after finishing bottom of the Bundesliga.
“All know what Hannover means for Per, and maybe we can inspire him again for 96,” managing director Martin Bader told German newspaper Bild.
“The issue of Per Mertesacker is our currently not high on the agenda. It’s obvious, because we are in the second division and the captain of Arsenal. A lot has to come together, so that a return is possible. The first requirement is that we ascend.”
Hannover are currently second in the table, just two points off leaders Eintracht Braunschweig, but Bader is refusing to completely rule out a move for Mertesacker adding: “Right now that’s far away and sounds crazy. But in football many things are possible.”
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Mertesacker’s future is likely to remain the subject of much speculation with the defender still out of action and with his contract due to expire in the summer.
The defender was born in Hannover and the pull of a former club can be strong, although Bader is right that unless they secure promotion any move is likely to fail. However, Mertesacker may well be ready to consider his options, particularly with new signing Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny establishing a fine partnership in the heart of the Arsenal defence.