By Giuseppe Muro

Arsène Wenger admits he made an exception to his transfer policy by signing Per Mertesacker.

The German defender, who stands at 6ft 6ins tall, joined Arsenal from Werder Bremen on transfer deadline day to reinforce the manager’s defensive options. Wenger concedes he wouldn’t normally buy a player of the 26-year-old’s physique but believes he adds different qualities to his backline.

Mertesacker impressed on his Arsenal debut against Swansea at the weekend and is expected to continue alongside Laurent Koscielny for Tuesday’s trip to Borussia Dortmund.

“Usually, I look at the quality of the player and not at his size,” he said. “Because we play a more technical game, I choose smaller players.

“But he is a calming presence, he has over 70 caps with Germany so he has experience and people forget he is only 26 years old.

“He must get used to the pace of the game. It is an issue because he was surprised by that but overall he has qualities we need in our team.

“He reads well the game, has good communication with the other players and he knows how important it is to communicate. That will play a big part in our season.”

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12 Sep 2011