Per Mertesacker has admitted he considered a return to former club Hannover 96 as he neared the end of his playing days, before Arsene Wenger suggested sticking with Arsenal.

Speaking to Bild, Mertesacker discussed rumours of a possible return to Hannover that emerged in the media over the last couple of years. Though he clearly gave it some thought, it seems Wenger led the charge to convince him to take an academy role in North London instead.

“Everyone knows what Hannover and 96 mean to me,” Mertesacker said. “Of course, last year I thought about what is likely to happen when Arsenal is over and what opportunities may arise for me and my family. And, of course, I talked to some people about it.

“With Daniel [Stendel, former manager of Hannover] I telephone more often (grins). Hannover is my home. 96 is and always will be an exciting option. Then came Arsenal, first and foremost Arsène Wenger, with the idea of the junior academy.”

It seems Wenger is to thank for another parting gift for the Gunners, as it’s great to see the club’s captain joining up with the backroom staff after his retirement. Especially a captain as respected all around the club as Mertesacker was.

Wenger and Mertesacker will reunite on Saturday for the German’s farewell game in Hannover. The former Arsenal manager will take to the dugout for the match, which kicks off at 2:30 pm BST and will be streamed on Goal’s YouTube channel.

All proceeds from the day will go to the Per Mertesacker Foundation, helping socially disadvantaged children through sport. Hopefully, it’ll give Per a great send-off and raise a lot of money in the process.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.