It is obvious that the Germans at Arsenal share a special bond.
It’s also really no surprise, Mesut Özil and Per Mertesacker first played together at Werder Bremen, where they won the German Cup back in 2009, when Özil was just 21 years of age. Our midfield genius scored the only goal of the final in Berlin.
Now 26, he still looks up to Mertesacker in more ways than one. The 6’6″ centre-half leads by example.
“I always see Per as a role model,” Özil said to Arsenal.com.
“He always gives everything for the team, you can see that he’s determined and wants to be successful. You can sense that on the pitch.”
“He’s very focused, very professional. He does his job 100 percent – he’s not the sort of person who does things by half measures.
“He’s rather the sort of person who, if he has something in his head, wants to see it through.”
That makes him perfect for the captaincy role that he had for the majority of last season, with usual captain Mikel Arteta spending most of the season injured. Mertesacker featured in an incredible 48 games for the Gunners after missing pre-season, captaining the side on 37 occasions including the FA Cup Final win in May.
After winning the World Cup a year ago the defender decided to retire from international football, to Arsenal’s benefit. He’s 31 next month but shows no signs of letting fatigue affect his game.
“He looks after himself and his diet,” Özil said. “Before matches he does his exercises to make sure that he stays fit and doesn’t pick up any injuries.
“You can see on the pitch that he’s fresh and is always there for everyone.
“We’re just really pleased to have him and you can sense on the pitch that he gives everything for the team.”
We are also very lucky to have him. Per in underrated and under appreciated by those outside the club as well as plenty of Arsenal fans.
He’s a superb defender and crucial to any success we may have this year.