Premier League

Mertesacker to stay at Arsenal

Per Mertesacker says he wants to stay with Arsenal next season.
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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker says that he is an 'integral part of the team' and that he will remain at the club next season.

The Germany international has endured plenty of criticism since arriving from Werder Bremen in August 2011, with some suggestions he would be sold in the summer.

However, the 6ft 6in defender now feels very much a key man for the Gunners.

"I do not think they want to get rid of me after this season here," Mertesacker said in an interview with German media website www.Sport1.de.

"I have become an integral part of the team and have really earned respect here.

"Sometimes you have to be self-confident enough and just let the press write what they want, but it is always getting quieter in this regard, and that is a good sign."

Arsenal travel to Newcastle on Sunday knowing that a win would secure them a Champions League place and Mertesacker says it is a tough place to play, adding: "We must really put a shift in against Newcastle and really give everything again in our last game.

"It was a long, grueling season, but we will do everything possible to win there."

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