By Alex Taylor

Arsenal star Per Mertesacker has refused to commit his long-term future to the club.

Mertesacker, 32, joined the north London outfit in 2011 but is is out of contract at the end of this season.

The former Werder Bremen ace was sidelined with a knee injury against Lens in pre-season and is not expected to make his return to the first-team until late November.

When asked by if he would commit his future to Arsene Wenger’s side. Mertesacker said: “I don’t know yet. My first priority is to get back to full fitness which will still take a while. So let’s see”

The aging centre-back faces a tough battle to regain his starting place with the Gunners after new signing Shkodran Mustafi has made a commanding start to his Arsenal career.

Mustafi joined Wenger’s side this summer for £35million and has received strong praise from pundits and supporters for his performances so far this term.

Mertesacker will be hoping he can force his way back into the Arsenal first-team as they fight for their first piece of silverware since the 2014/15 FA Cup.

The Germany international has featured 207 times for Arsenal, scoring eight goals and providing three assists in that time.

The defender has watched from the sidelines this season as his side have made a strong start to their domestic campaign.

Wenger’s team currently sit in third place in the Premier League behind north London rivals Tottenham and league-leaders Manchester City.

Arsenal will take on Swansea, Ludogorets and Middlesbrough all within seven days next week after the international break, and if the Gunners do well on all fronts this season Wenger will be forced to make use of his extensive squad.

In other Arsenal news, the Gunners will be boosted by the return of this defender.