Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal signed a number of top quality players. Many of them went on to become incredible servants for the club, but there were a few who weren’t probably our first choice, but were brought in anyway.
One such player was Per Mertesacker. The German was one of five players who joined us on the final day of the 2011 transfer window. He became our captain and went on to play over 220 games for us in all competitions.
Mertesacker retired at the Emirates in 2018 and he is now the head of our academy. The former Werder Bremen man won three FA Cups and two Community Shields during his time at Arsenal, but he admits he was one of Wenger’s panic buys on transfer deadline day in 2011.
Mertesacker thinks he was a panic buy
He told Arsenal’s In Lockdown podcast: I consider myself to be a panic buy. I’ve got no problems with that whatsoever because sometimes these times are rushed. Football is rushed, especially when the transfer window is about to close. At that time Arsenal had two or three days to make adjustments to the squad. To join an English team, my favourite English team, and to join the Premier League was something I couldn’t turn down.”
“I was with the German national team during those last three days and I had to ask Joachim Low if I could go to London and have a quick medical. It had to be messy, it had to be rushed. I didn’t care, I was just happy that Arsene Wenger called me and spoke to me in German. I couldn’t really believe it. It was so unreal those three days. To turn down an opportunity like Arsenal Football Club? I would always do it again, in the same format, in the same rush, in the same manner.”
After a tough start, Mertesacker became an integral part of Arsenal
Mertesacker had a very difficult debut season. The German suffered a terrible injury just three months after he signed for us. That ruled him out for the remainder of that campaign which was a terrible blow. Many fans questioned his ability then, but he silenced all his critics in his next years at the club.
The highlight of the German’s Arsenal career has to be his performance in the 2017 FA Cup final against Chelsea. That was his first start of the campaign and he was arguably the best player on the pitch as he helped us win the cup against a very dangerous Blues side that had Diego Costa and Eden Hazard in attack.
Like Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta was brought in on transfer deadline day in 2011. The Spaniard is now our boss and the German is the head of our academy. Looking back, it’s almost like it was written in the stars, and Wenger would be proud of how far both of them have come in their careers.