Arsene Wenger has reasserted his preference for smaller, more technically minded players, but admitted he made an exception when signing Per Mertesacker due to his experience.
At 6 foot 6 inches tall, the German international is not only the tallest player that Wenger has signed during his tenure in North London, but the tallest in the club’s history beating eighties striker Niall Quinn and current keeper Wojciech Szczesny to the record.
Reflecting on the decision to spend £10 million on his lanky recruit, the Frenchman explained his decision ahead of tomorrow night’s showdown with Borussia Dortmund:
“Usually, I look at the quality of the player and not at his size,” confirmed the coach. “Because we play a more technical game, I choose smaller players.
“But he is a calming presence, he has over 70 caps with Germany so he has experience and people forget he is only 26 years old.
“He must get used to the pace of the game. It is an issue because he was surprised by that but overall he has qualities we need in our team.
“He reads well the game, has good communication with the other players and he knows how important it is to communicate. That will play a big part in our season.”
‘Big Friendly Giant’ or ‘Big Fucking German’…either way he looks like he’ll be useful clearing corners. A few more exceptions to the rules may not go amiss…