It may have been five years ago, but Per Mertesacker can still clearly remember his first conversation with Arsene Wenger - and says it “will stick with me for the rest of my life”.
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The centre back was at Werder Bremen in 2011, when the boss spoke to him about making the move to north London. Mertesacker was quickly convinced.
“He talked to me in German so that was very impressive to me,” he told Arsenal Player. “First of all to talk to him, even five years ago, [was special] - such an experienced manager and someone you look up to.
“He didn’t need to impress me or convince me a lot or persuade me to join Arsenal, I was agreeing with him that this was the next step for me and the right step for me. My first impression was pretty good and it will stick with me for the rest of my life.
“I’ve experienced Thomas Schaaf as well with Bremen, I think he stayed for 14 or 15 years, that was very rare and something I will always have a lot of respect for: managers updating themselves.
“You have to update yourself every two or three years to keep up with the level of football and as well have the patience from the board, from the club, when there is a little bit of a crisis, to believe in the manager or to believe in the person that he is the best to turn it around or to bounce back.
“I think the way Arsenal treat that person, in that case Mr Wenger, is absolutely outstanding. It’s a great achievement, not only for the club, but it’s a kind of revolution how he came to England and how he still sets the tone.”
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