Wolfsburg have confirmed their interest in Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker and are reportedly preparing a summer approach for the Germany international.
The 28-year-old has failed to establish himself in the Premier League since his transfer from Werder Bremen in 2011. The 6ft 6in centre-back is considered too slow for the English top flight and despite finding himself above Laurent Koscielny in Arsene Wenger's pecking order this season, his performances have regularly attracted criticism.
Wenger, who has had yet another disappointing season, is expected to shuffle his squad in the summer, with the German understood to be one of the players heading for the exit door. And Wolfsburg general manager Klaus Allofs, who signed Mertesacker for Bremen from Hannover back in 2006, has now expressed an interest in the defender.
"Everyone knows what I think of Per. He was the leader at Bremen and I also believe he is the leader in the Germany team. If he is for sale, he will always be of interest," Allofs said.
According to talkSPORT, Allofs is keen on a reunion and is now weighing up a summer bid to take Mertesacker, who is still highly rated in his homeland, back to the Bundesliga.
Wenger: Fabianski Had Mental Transformation
Meanwhile, Wenger feels the Gunners' stopper, Lukasz Fabianski, has matured as a footballer during his year-long break from the first team. The 27-year-old was a surprise inclusion in the Champions League match against Bayern Munich last week. The Pole did excellently to keep a clean sheet in the club's 2-0 win.
"He played with authority. We know his talent and I'm very happy with his performance. He has a huge talent, which we know all about. Sometimes to go out of the game for a while helps people to mature and think about their own game," Wenger said.
"He has changed a lot, there has been a complete mental transformation in Lukasz's attitude. He is more vocal, has more authority and mentally he absorbs the pressure of the game much better," the Frenchman added.
Arsenal take on Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday.