Per Mertesacker is proud of the connection he has with the Arsenal fans.

From the moment the BFG signed for us, although some were unconvinced of his ability, everyone loved him. Hearing his chant ring out on live television at 12:45 on a Saturday while the commentators try to drown it out with their mindless chatter is something to behold. And it’s something the centre-back has taken note of.

Speaking the day after our 2-0 loss to Barcelona, the lanky German hailed the fans’ support.

“In my opinion the tighter it is, the better it is,” he said to Arsenal Player.

“You need to feel that they are next to you, literally standing next to you and being behind you all the time.

“Arsenal is a big family and fans are included all the way through. We are not meeting on a daily basis but the feeling of the back up from the fans is the most important feeling.

“My surprise was from the start [the fans took to me to their hearts], they tried to find a chant for me and they did it on their own. I am very proud of the development and there is still more to come.”

511889362 dejected per mertesacker of arsenal applauds gettyimages
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 23: A dejected Per Mertesacker of Arsenal applauds the home fans following their team’s 2-0 defeat during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, first leg match between Arsenal FC and FC Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium on February 23, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

It’s quite telling that this interview was either conducted and/or posted the day after a defeat in the Champions League. As much as I don’t like to appear cynical, the media team obviously wanted to rally the troops ahead of our match away at Old Trafford.

Saying this, I genuinely do believe Per when he says how much he loves the fans because his love of the club is clear. Just check out mini-Per in his little Arsenal kit.

mini per