Werder Bremen to battle Hannover for Mertesacker

Per Mertesacker is in the final year of his contract at Arsenal and Werder Bremen and Hannover are interested in signing him.

Werder Bremen are keen to battle Hannover in order to bring Per Mertesacker back to Germany from Arsenal.

The 32-year-old centre-back is in the final year of his contract at Emirates Stadium and has not featured this season due to a knee injury sustained in July.

Mertesacker, who won 104 caps for Germany before retiring soon after their World Cup triumph in 2014, has himself said he could be tempted to move back to his homeland.

Bremen general manager Frank Baumann, who played alongside Mertesacker at the Weser-Stadion, believes a return to the club is possible.

"I could well imagine Per at Werder," he said to Bild.

Reports in Germany suggest that Mertesacker could be offered a managerial training programme as part of any deal with Werder, and Baumann said that initial discussions took place when Arsenal negotiated the sale of Serge Gnabry in August.

"In the course of Serge's transfer, we also spoke about his [Mertesacker's] future," said Baumann.

Werder could face competition from Hannover, however, with Mertesacker having spent 11 years with the Lower Saxony club after joining them as a junior in 1995.

"Everyone knows what Hannover means for Per," said managing director Martin Bader this week.

"A transfer is still far away now and it seems like a crazy thing to even discuss it. But anything can happen in football."