The teenager who could replace Per Mertesacker for club and country

Per Mertesacker

Arsenal are reportedly taking a look at 19-year-old Freiburg defender Matthias Ginter who could go a long way to replacing Per Mertesacker.

Per Mertesacker would have woken up today, sat down to enjoy his breakfast before spitting it straight back out after reading about Arsenal’s interest in Matthias Ginter.

Ginter is one of the most talented defenders in German football at the moment and a player Arsenal are willing to pay at least £5 million for to buy out the last two years of his contract with Freiburg.

His consistency for a teenager last season was remarkable as he played 26 matches for the German club in all competitions, proving he’s more than just a young man coming into the game and dipping his toe into the water.

It’s bad news for Mertesacker on two fronts because it’s a strong indication that Arsenal could be looking to replace him in the immediate future by targeting a defender with many of the same qualities; well over six feet tall and physically intimidating.

It’s bad news for his international career as well because if Ginter progresses through the Germany Under-21 side in the same way he’s performed for the Under-18 and Under-19 sides then it won’t be too long until he’s next to Mats Hummels in the senior team.

He’s in Germany’s squad for the Under-21 European Championship and a string of solid performances in that tournament may convince Joachim Lowe that he’s worth a risk at full senior level.

Mertesacker is only 28-years-old and as a defender he has plenty of years left in the tank at the highest level but Ginter is only going to get stronger while many have suggested Mertesacker is already past his best.

It’s important to show a little bit of context because even if Arsenal snapped up Ginter this summer, he wouldn’t replace Mertesacker straight away because the older German naturally has more experience.

He’s also earned the right to start in the Arsenal defence ahead of next season as they look to try and put a title challenge together as well as competing for domestic silverware and also in the Champions League.

However, Ginter’s career is full of potential. When Wenger gives him a chance, he’s shown with Frieburg and the German youth teams that he steps up to the big challenge on the big occasion.

If he joins Arsenal then the only thing that will stop him ending Mertesacker’s career at club level is if he gets a bad injury or looks completely out of his depth in the Premier League.

However, for any young player to make an impression in a division completely dominated by Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich is remarkable and Arsenal need to act fast before he’s signed by either of them or another top quality European side.

Do you think Ginter can end Mertesacker’s career? Would it be a poor move by Arsenal?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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