Per Mertesacker 'convinced' Arsenal will return to the top & reveals 'emotional

at 10:06 PM, 1/09/2011 (7 years ago)
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The centre-back completed his move on deadline day and says he cannot believe that his dream has come true, and denies that he was signed as knee-jerk reaction to 8-2 defeat
Per Mertesacker has claimed he feels an "emotional connection" with Arsenal having worn the team's shirt as a youngster, and has backed Arsene Wenger to guide the club to the top.

The 26-year-old moved from Werder Bremen to the north London club on deadline day for a fee believed to be in the region of £8 million (€9m).

The towering defender was given permission by his national side to fly to London to seal his move, with the centre-half putting pen to paper on a four-year deal with the club – a transfer he thought might never happen.

"There is this emotional connection to Arsenal, since my youth, when I walked around in an Arsenal shirt," Mertesacker told reporters.

"The circle closes now. I think I will finally realise it, after the first training or when I walk out for the first time into the stadium.

"I’m very happy that the request came. I didn’t think it would.

"When I was young I visited my aunt in England. As a football maniac you always brought back a shirt of course and I took the Arsenal kit. My brother took one of Manchester United.

"Since then I’ve always watched the Premier League and especially Arsenal. My connection to the club grew over the last 10 years. I didn’t think I’d play there someday, but I had this wish inside me. Back than I wouldn’t believe that I would be a Gunner now. That this story becomes reality is fascination enough."

He added: "Arsenal are and were always [able] to educate good players under Wenger. Similar to Bremen they had to sell them for a lot of money.

"But Arsenal never lost their philosophy, because they had this manager constantly. They always found players who were able to play good football and study their tactics, the direct passes into the attacking line. They’ve always taught this."

Wenger has come under attack in recent times with the club having failed to win a trophy in six years, and the new signing has admitted he will do his utmost to take team back to the top.

"As long as I watch Arsenal, Arsene is their coach," said Mertesacker.

"This excited me from the beginning. I would say that also the talks I had with him were a reason that totally convinced me. But in the end the fascination [with] Arsenal made it. The trainer is a big plus. He will develop me further.

"They spent the capital they had to buy players, to develop them and to give safety back to the team, to return to the top. I’m convinced they will. I will do everything for this."

Mertesacker arrives after the side's 8-2 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United that leaves them in 17th place in the table after three games, but the defender is adamant his signing is not a knee-jerk reaction to the defeat.

He said: "Of course I did watch it, because I follow the Premier League for many years, and I was not amused.

"There is enough potential to get out of the current situation, which looks bad in the table.

"I don’t think it [the scoreline] triggered the transfer, because Arsenal [have been] watching me [for] a long time and they had the wish to buy me. That was the decisive reason."


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