By Harry Sykes
Per Mertesacker has agreed the terms of a new Arsenal contract, according to a report.
The Times claim the Gunners have reached an agreement with the club captain to extend his deal, which is due to expire in the summer, for a further 12 months.
This will keep former Germany international Mertesacker, 32, at Emirates Stadium until 2018.
It is said that Arsenal are willing to loan Mertesacker out to a European club at the end of the January transfer window when he is signed up if manager Arsene Wenger does not believe he will get much first-team action in the second half of the campaign.
The veteran centre-back has not yet played this season due to a knee injury sustained in pre-season and is still undergoing rehabilitation.
It is not yet clear when he will return to full fitness and, even when he does, the German will be behind Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Paulista in the pecking order for the central defensive roles.
Nevertheless, the £70,000-a-week defender is much admired by Wenger, who values his leadership and communication skills, and believes he can continue to be a role model for the club’s young players.
Mertesacker joined Arsenal in 2011 and has been an immensely popular player during the last six years.
He retired from international football after winning the 2014 World Cup with Germany to prolong his club career.
In other Arsenal news, the club have agreed terms to sign up a second defender this month.