Arsenal are considering loaning out Per Mertesacker as they try to decide whether the German defender is worthy of a new contract. Mertesacker has not featured for the Gunners this season and as a result has fallen behind Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Paulista in the pecking order at The Emirates Stadium.

The World Cup winner, who was appointed Arsenal club captain in August, sustained a serious knee problem during pre-season and The Times claims matters were made worse for the experienced centre-back when he suffered a calf injury on his return to training earlier this month.

Mertesacker is willing to ply his trade elsewhere in order to gain match fitness and prove his worth to Arsene Wenger, who is open to extending the 32-year-old's contract which is due to expire this month. The Gunners are waiting until the end of the transfer window to make a final decision as they are keen to keep a close eye on the former Hannover star's physical condition.

Should Mertesacker leave Arsenal the most likely destination will be his homeland, Germany. Despite Jack Wilshere enjoying regular game-time with Bournemouth, Wenger's men are reluctant to do another loan deal with a Premier League club. The towering defender joined the north London outfit from Werder Bremen in the summer of 2011 and has gone on to make over 200 appearances and win two FA Cups with the club.

Per Mertesacker
Mertesacker is eager to prolong his spell at Arsenal Getty Images

Arsenal did make a signing of their own earlier this week with Cohen Brammall joining from non-league outfit Hednesford in a deal worth £40,000. The young full-back looks set to be the only signing the Gunners make in January with the club insteading focusing on loaning out other fringe players such as Carl Jenkinson, who is attracting interest from Crystal Palace, and Chuba Akpom, who could drop down to the Championship.