Per Mertesacker has revealed he could have joined Arsenal last year, were it not for Werder Bremen's reluctance to sell.
The German defender signed for the Gunners on deadline day to realise an ambition he had harboured for some time: to play in the Barclays Premier League and, specifically, for Arsenal.
However, this dream could have been fulfilled in the summer of 2010, with Arsene Wenger having made an approach for the 27-year-old prior to signing Laurent Koscielny.
“I found out [about the Arsenal move] three days before the window closed,” Mertesacker told Goal.com.
“I did not know before. I was with Bremen in a good situation in the Bundesliga. I was the captain and was involved in everything to do with the club. My mind was there.
“Then Arsene Wenger called my agent and said that ‘perhaps you can be my man’ or something like this. I had to do what he wanted because, one year before, he asked for me and the [general] manager of Werder Bremen, Klaus Allofs, didn’t let me go.”
He added: “I had to do it very quickly but that was kind of my wish to go to the English league a couple of years ago.
“It is a big challenge for me and I said to my family and friends that if everybody agrees with this change, let’s do this together."
Since joining Arsenal, Mertesacker has noted the differing training methods adopted by Wenger; encouraging his players to work with the ball at their feet as much as possible.
And Mertesacker believes everything is in place for Arsenal to achieve something with their current set of players.
“It is totally different, especially in the training. There are more passing sessions every day compared to other clubs," he explained.
"There are the little things - games every four days, the Champions League as well, which is a great challenge for me and the club, and a very young team with potential.”