Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has revealed he was denied the chance to join the club a year before his move to the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger swooped for the German international for a fee believed to be around £8 million this summer, but the giant defender claims it's the second time the Gunners' boss has been in contact over a move.
"I found out about the move three days before it was done. I was with Bremen and in a good situation in the Bundesliga. I was captain and had much to do with the club, but Arsene Wenger called my agent and said: 'perhaps you can be my man (at Arsenal)'. I said: 'of course'," said the defender.
"I have to do this because one year before he asked for me and the general manager of Werder Bremen, Klaus Aloffs, didn't let me go.
"Did I want to join them Arsenal? Of course. That was my wish, to go to the English league, and it is a big challenge for me. So I said: 'OK, if everyone agrees with this change then let's do this together."
27-year-old Mertesacker has already become an integral part of the Arsenal side, featuring in Barclays Premier League and Champions League action so far this term amidst a defensive injury crisis at the club.
He's also set to feature in his first north London derby this weekend, and it's a match the player is looking forward too.
"This is my first special game for Arsenal. A lot of people have been telling me about it, how massive it is, and what a special experience it is and I am looking forward to it," he said on the clash.
"It is an especially important game for Arsenal and for me. There is nothing similar to it in Germany. You cannot compare Bremen against Hamburg because they are not quite in the same city, so the London derby is bigger."
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