By Giuseppe Muro

Per Mertesacker has spoken of his long-standing admiration for Club legend Tony Adams as he prepares to make his Arsenal debut against Swansea at the weekend.

The new signing, who moved to Emirates Stadium from Werder Bremen on transfer deadline day, has been a Gooner since buying a shirt at the age of ten and says the former captain is “a special one”.

Mertesacker is in line to don the Arsenal red and white for the first time on Saturday and admits he always looked up to Adams when growing up in Germany.

“We didn’t get many pictures of him on the television but Adams was a legend here,” he told “He is a special one for me. 

“When I was looking at English football I always looked to Arsenal and he was one of the great defenders when I was ten or 12 years old. I knew he was the centre-half for Arsenal.

“I like the players [like Adams] very much - I have enjoyed seeing them over the years. I hope I can improve my performances here and get better and better - I want to be useful for the team."

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8 Sep 2011