Arsenal academy chief Per Mertesacker has hinted at the Gunners potentially striking up a loan-network deal with Werder Bremen to help the development of young players coming through the youth systems at each club.
The 34-year-old former centre-back played for seven years at the Emirates Stadium after completing a late summer transfer in 2011 from Bremen, where he spent five seasons.
Mertesacker hung up his boots at the end of last season and transitioned into the coaching staff for the Gunners academy. The former German international is charged with overseeing the development of young talent coming through the ranks and making sure they are ready to play with the first team.
Mertesacker flew back to his former club Werder Bremen to begin talks with technical director Thomas Schaaf about a potential collaboration between the sides going forward. Speaking to German outlet Bild, Mertesacker claimed: "Werder Bremen has a very good youth work and with Thomas Schaaf (as technical director responsible for the training concept in NLZ) someone who brings in new structures. I talked to him and thought about what we can do together as far as players are concerned."
When asked if the clubs working together might involve loan deals for promising players, Mertesacker could only grin and say: "Let's see what happens. That was just an exchange of ideas."
It was recently revealed the Gunners' academy coach tried everything he could think of to keep Yassin Fortune at Arsenal despite the 20-year-old deciding to leave for FC Sion at the end of last season.
Per Mertesacker:— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) March 19, 2019
"If we can have a doctor in America, that is a success for us as an academy too.
"If we get someone who doesn’t make it in football and has a successful career somewhere else in the world, that’s also a success."
Arsenal's youngsters are in good hands. pic.twitter.com/H01q3HGSQM
A deal between Arsenal and Bremen could keep promising young players such as Fortune at the club by giving them first-team minutes in the Bundesliga and pushing their development at a high level in German football.
Arsenal will be back in action after the international break when they take on Newcastle on the first day of April as they continue their fight for a Champions League spot in the Premier League.