Huge Arsenal boost as Wenger confirms return of key Gunners star

Arsene Wenger has lauded the return to the club of Per Mertesacker after the former Germany international underwent knee surgery.

Arsenal's German defender Per Mertesacker warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 24, 2016. AFP PHOTO / IKIMAGES RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / AFP / IKIMAGES / IKIMAGES (Photo credit should read IKIMAGES/AFP/Getty Images)

The vastly experienced 32-year-old suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury during pre-season and returned to his native Germany for an operation.

Mertesacker is now back at the north London club’s training base where he is stepping up his rehabilitation. And although he is still unlikely to make his first team return for a number of months, Wenger believes Mertesacker’s mere presence will have a significant impact on his squad.

‘We’ve had a welcome addition to the squad recently – Per Mertesacker has returned from a treatment break in Germany,’ said Wenger.

‘You know Per is a leader in the group, on a mental front as well. That’s the only attribute he can use at the moment but he’s an important part of the dressing room.

‘He gets everybody focused and I’m sure I can rely on his help to keep the team highly motivated.’

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