Per Mertesacker believes Arsenal are now settled again, following the summer departures of Alex Song and, of course, Robin van Persie.
The Gunners were rocked when van Persie revealed he would not be signing a new contract at the Emirates Stadium, meaning he could leave on a free transfer next year should he remain at the club this season. In the end, Arsene Wenger felt he had little choice but to sell his captain to archrivals Manchester United in a deal worth a potential £24million.
Shortly afterwards, the French coach also accepted an offer of £15million from Barcelona for Song, who last season was their most creative midfield outlet. Having also lost Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy last summer, it was very much a cash of déjà-vu for the club’s supporters who have been waiting for another piece of silverware since 2005.
Wenger has spent heavily on Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla in recent weeks, and the latter was in fine form on Sunday when created a goal for the German international and scored the second in a 2-0 win at Liverpool. Having drawn both of their opening two games, this was the first maximum-point haul of the season for Arsenal who are yet to concede after goalless draws with Sunderland and Stoke City.
Mertesacker has forged a central defensive pairing with Thomas Vermaelen for all three games, and the former Werder Bremen man feels there is now a settled atmosphere within the camp after another summer of uncertainty. And as the majority of the squad jet off on international duty, he does so still basking in the aftermath of their Anfield success.
“We had to believe a lot, because our squad has had many changes and some important players have moved. We didn’t know where we stood, but we are very happy now,” said the German international, who is now in his second season with the Gunners. “You could see it in the dressing room directly after the match. We are very proud to play for Arsenal.
“We had a great opportunity here to show everybody what Arsenal is. We now have to focus on our strengths and that is vital for the next few weeks, to stay near the top of the league. A lot of challenges are coming after the international break but we are looking forward to them because we are full of confidence. We showed that against Liverpool.”