Mertesacker eyes new year return for Arsenal

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Mertesacker eyes new year return for Arsenal
(FILE PHOTO: AFP)

Arsenal centre back Per Mertesacker is nearing match fitness and is eyeing a return to action in the new year after spending the first half of the Premier League season on the sidelines due to a knee problem.

The German, who was appointed club captain following Mikel Arteta’s departure this year, was injured in a pre-season friendly in July and underwent surgery.

“I’m hopeful that I can join the team properly and be available to the team next year,” Mertesacker told reporters.

“That’s my resolution. I want to be back on the pitch and with the ball. I’m able to run now, painless, and it’s what it’s all about. When you are able to run again after such a long time it makes you feel happy.”

In the 32-year-old’s absence, Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi have played in central defence and Arsenal have conceded 14 goals, the third fewest in the league.

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