Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: I went against my transfer policy to sign Per Mertesacker

The Emirates boss insists he usually targets smaller players as they fit with his side's technical style but believes the German will be an asset to his squad
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has conceded the signing of Per Mertesacker went against his regular 'smaller player' policy.

The 6ft 6in centre-back arrived from Werder Bremen in the summer transfer window as Wenger looked to bolster his defensive options following the 8-2 drubbing at Manchester United.

Mertesacker's debut on Saturday against Swansea marked Arsenal's first league win of the season and the Germany international is set to continue alongside Laurent Koscielny for their Champions League group stage opener against Bundesliga holders Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

“Usually, I look at the quality of the player and not at his size,” Wenger told reporters.

“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."

Wenger admits Mertesacker must quickly acclimatise to the Premier League but feels the centre-back will be a valuable asset to Arsenal's campaign.

“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.”