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Oct 9, 2012

Mertesacker loving life at Arsenal

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has said he is loving the relaxed atmosphere at Arsenal, describing it as a contrast to what he was used to in Germany.

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Mertesacker, 28, moved to north London from Werder Bremen in August 2011 and, despite a slow start, has emerged as one of the Gunners' most important players this season.

The Germany international believes he has settled in so well because of the relaxed lifestyle in England and at Arsenal, and believes that attitude also manifests itself in the Emirates boardroom.

"It's true we are a bit reserved [the club's transfer policy]. We are more of a calm club," he told Berliner Zeitung. "We even generate a transfer surplus. Every player identifies with that".

The former Hannover man said he was revelling in the calmness - something he was not used to in Germany.

"You are not bothered by anyone on the Arsenal grounds," Mertesacker said. "You can get into your car relaxed - no fans, no press.

"In Germany, it is not like that. If you have a bad run, you feel the bad run bringing high pressure as everyone keeps asking you about it.

"You feel even worse. You always have to react to negative things, and you don't want to do that.

"When I arrived at Arsenal, the team had just been beaten 8-2 by Manchester United. In Germany, it would have taken a week to get over it with the media. In England, you did not notice anything there."

He said supporters in England were also different to what he had experienced in Germany.

"The rivalry is big in England", he said. "If you win an away match, like we did in Liverpool in early September, then you can feel the respect.

"We travelled to Liverpool by train, and when we arrived the fans were trying to intimidate us. After the match at the station, they congratulated us for our performance."

Mertesacker is set to win his 83rd cap for his country on Friday as Germany travel to the Republic of Ireland for a World Cup qualifier.

After losing his place in the side, a recent injury to Borussia Dortmund's Mat Hummels has opened the door for him to add to his impressive tally of caps.

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