Wenger feels the German World Cup winner - who has made 149 appearances since arriving from Werder Bremen in an £8m deal five years ago - was the natural choice to succeed the retired Mikel Arteta as captain.
“Per is a very respected figure in the dressing room, is loved as well and is also a very demanding figure. I think it is absolutely natural to be (him),” said Wenger.
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“(In his absence) that’s where it will be taken by the assistants. One of them will be (Laurent) Koscielny, also (Santi) Cazorla - the experienced players - Cech maybe.
“We will have a group of people that will take care of the energy levels and the problems of the team. That will be down a lot to the experienced players.
England midfielder Jack Wilshere feels Mertesacker - who could miss the rest of the year with a knee problem - is the right fit to be captain.
“It is good news for us. For me anyway, over the last few seasons he has been like a captain,” said Wilshere.
“He is a natural leader and I know he has picked up a injury, but he can still bring so much to us as a team. I’m sure if you ask the other boys, they will say he would be an obvious choice for captain. We are happy.
“He is organised, and he won’t take any nonsense from anyone. If someone is late or on their phone, he is on to them - it doesn’t matter who you are. He is the one who organises our team dinners so for me he is a great choice."
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