Posted on Friday, 2nd September 2011 by Iain Culverhouse
So, here are 10 things you should know about the club’s new signing:
1. Per Mertesacker was born in Hannover, West Germany, where he played for his local side Hannover 96 – a club that his father Stefan was a youth coach at.
2. His debut for the club was not one that Mertesacker will fondly remember; it came at the hands of Cologne in November 2003 in a league game. In the game, the German suffered a broken nose and, shortly after doing so, scored an own goal.
3. Despite a less than impressive start to his career, Per became one of the most promising young defenders in the Bundesliga. Standing at 6’6″, he was dubbed die Abwehrlatte (The Defence Pole) by the German media.
4. Known for his excellent disciplinary record, the 26-year-old went 31 Bundesliga games without being booked and, during his entire career with Hannover 96 (from 2003-2006), he was only booked twice.
5. The tall centre-back was called up to the German national side by then head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in 2004, where he quickly became a first-team choice and went on to feature for the side during the World Cup 2006.
Let’s take a look at our new signing in action:
6. Mertesacker went on to sign for Werder Bremen in August 2006, where his record continued. The German scored his debut Champions League goal in a 1-0 win over Chelsea in November 2006, which ended Chelsea’s unbeaten streak in the competition.
7. Per missed a large portion of the 2008 season after sustaining an injury in the UEFA Cup semi-final against Hamburg. it was later revealed that he had suffered torn ligaments in his right ankle and would require surgery, which ruled him out for the rest of the season.
8. He went on to receive his first red card of his professional career during the 2007/08 season in a game against VfB Stuttgart. Despite this red card, his final stats in the Bundesliga ended on an impressive 327 games played, 9 bookings, 2 red cards and 27 goals in 9 years.
9. Mertersacker’s international career was affected by the injury and, as a result, missed a few of the World Cup 2010 qualifiers. However, he retained his place in the squad, where he has picked up 75 caps and 1 goal along the way.
10. It was announced by Arsenal that they had signed Per Mertesacker on August 31st 2011. He was handed the no.4 shirt, which was previously worn by former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas.
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