Arsene Wenger has revealed in this week’s matchday programme that there were no negotiations with Per Mertesacker, they simply activated his option.

The Arsenal captain’s deal was announced this week, even though Arsenal had actually registered it three weeks before (same with Kos and Santi, whom they haven’t even announced yet).

“I’m very pleased that he’ll be staying with us beyond this season,” Wenger told the matchday programme.

“He is a leader and is one of the four centre backs who has experience and can guide the team. There were no negotiations in fact, because he had an option for extension. So it’s not really a new contract, it’s just an extension of the old one. We had to take that option early in the season and the decision was made quite easily.

“He’s always ready to give advice and many young players go to see him. Per has that right mixture. When you want fun he’s there as well.

“Overall, I’ve never seen a training session where he was not fully focused to do well. That’s why he has improved with us a lot on a technical front, because his focus is always 100 per cent.”

Meanwhile, Per himself, speaking in his weekly programme notes, added, “I would just like to say how very grateful I am to have extended my contract here.

“It makes me really proud and also a bit emotional. I’ve been out for six months now and to have such trust and belief from the manager makes me very humble and thankful.

“Trust me, I’ll do everything possible on a daily basis to make myself better and everybody around me better. I’m working really hard to come back and show that I’m still capable on the pitch, because I want to help make this great club as successful as possible.”

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