Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker moved to English soccer from German side Werder Bremen in an August transfer billed as the solution to its defensive woes. The 27-year-old joined the London club in a £9.9 million ($15.6 million) move that he wanted to make long before it happened, according to the Daily Mirror.
"I only knew about Arsenal's interest three days before I moved," he said. ?Then Arsene Wenger called my agent and said that 'perhaps you can be my man' or something like that."
"I had to do what he wanted because, one year before, he asked for me and the manager of Werder Bremen (Thomas Schaff) didn't let me go and I wanted to. I had to do it very quickly but that was kind of my wish to go to the English league a couple of years ago."
Mertesacker is a household name on the world stage, having amassed 76 caps for Germany and appeared in two FIFA World Cups and one UEFA European Championship (2008 runner-ups) for his country. He made his professional debut for German club Hannover 96 in the 2003-04 season and played 86 games for the club. He was a German international by the time he moved to Bremen in the summer of 2006. He made 215 appearances for Werder Bremen.
Arsenal's defensive frailties are well-known and often cited as the chief reason behind their failure to win any silverware for over six years.