Per Mertesacker says he enjoys his role as Arsenal’s debt collector but has stressed that the current squad don’t owe him much cash at the moment.
The German international was uncovered as Arsene Wenger’s changing-room moneyman during the course of last season and has finally gone public on the responsibility having been selected for the role by club captain Thomas Vermaelen and deputy Mikel Arteta.
Speaking to the official Arsenal Magazine, the 29-year-old reflected: “Thomas and Mikel chose me for that job – perhaps because Germans are well known for their strictness, their honesty and being able to handle an economy!
“So it’s my job to collect the fines, but I have to say that we have a very good squad on that side, and I don’t have to fine a lot of players.
“Most of the players are on time each day – there is not one player who owes me much money at the moment!”
With 27 starts under his belt in all competitions already this season, Mertesacker has been the bedrock of an impressive Arsenal defence which is currently the stingiest in the Premier League.
Aware that he and regular partner Laurent Koscielny have garnered most of the plaudits, the German also took a moment to praise club captain Thomas Vermaelen for his attitude despite the Belgian’s recent lack of game time.
“Laurent, Thomas and myself I think we push each other to good form. At the moment it is linked to me and Laurent, but I have to say that Thomas is a role model for everyone here.
“Not just because he is the skipper, but in the way he communicates, handles his situation when he’s not playing. People always speak about those who are in the team, but you have to mention the players who are not involved in the starting XI, but who have the right influence on the rest of the team.”
“We are good centre backs,” he continued on the subject of Arsenal’s defensive improvement.
“It takes some time to get used to each other on the pitch, and feel comfortable with the situation on the pitch. At the moment we know each other well, and how we behave on the pitch. We know how to cover each other, we know how our partner will handle the key moments.
“You have to learn that, especially against a team like Liverpool, because their world-class players – you can’t handle them on your own. You always need someone beside you who is always aware and covering you.
“When you have that in your mind, that your partner is there for you if there is a problem, it makes it much easier. Overall, though, I think the whole team is defending much better than last season. Dangerous situations can come from everywhere, so if you are well protected from long balls by the midfield, that has an influence as well.”