Per Mertesacker prepares to join up with Arsenal squad

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The Independent Online

Germany defender Per Mertesacker is both nervous and excited about joining Arsenal after collecting his belongings and saying farewell to family, friends and neighbours in Bremen today.

The 26-year-old will make the move to London tomorrow following his transfer to the Gunners from Werder Bremen on transfer deadline day.

He has been on international duty since the deal went through and has therefore only had a very fleeting glimpse of his new surroundings when he jetted in and out for a medical last week.

After "saying my goodbyes to individuals to whom I have a lot to thank", he will fly out to London for the start of his new adventure later on today and he admits it will be emotional.

"It is exciting," he added to Germany's dpa agency. "It is a new phase in my life and I am really looking forward to it, but I also feel nervous.

"It is like before the first day at school.

"Now I have a new challenge in a new country, a new style of play and a new language and I am ready for it."

Mertesacker returned to national team duty in yesterday's 2-2 draw with Poland after being left out of the 6-2 win over Austria on Friday, and he was delighted to be back in action after a demanding week.

"It was great to be part of the team again," he said, acknowledging at the same time that he is now under even more pressure to deliver the goods for Arsenal.

"It is going to be an open race for places - we have a lot of options for next year (at Euro 2012) in the centre of the defence.

"There are four or five top players there."

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