Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dominic Fifield: Wenger makes leap of faith by bringing Mertesacker to Arsenal

With the humiliation endured in Sunday's 8-2 defeat at Manchester United still raw, Wenger has performed something of a U-turn by returning to Werder Bremen to sign Per Mertesacker for around €9m (£7.6m) despite having apparently previously been unconvinced that the 26-year-old, albeit an experienced and rugged performer, would thrive given the furious pace of the Premier League. Interest had been expressed last summer only to come to nothing while those doubts persisted and, even this time around, the Germany international had initially featured relatively low on Arsenal's list of potential recruits.

Yet the centre-half is available at a relatively small fee for a player who boasts 75 caps, for his country given the financial problems being experienced by Werder, and should complete his move having broken away from international duty to fly to London and undergo a medical. Mertesacker will be followed to the Emirates by the South Korea striker Park Chu-young, a £1.8m signing from relegated Monaco, and the Brazil defender André Santos, a 28-year-old attack-minded full-back who is to join on a four-year deal for £6.2m from Fenerbahce.

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