Werder Bremen defender Per Mertesacker has fuelled rumours linking him with a move to Arsenal by admitting he is tempted by the prospect of playing in the Premier League.
Mertesacker only has a year to run on his existing contract with the Bundesliga outfit and talks over an extension have stalled, prompting speculation the Gunners could make a concerted effort to sign the big centre-back this summer after reportedly having a bid turned down in January.
In an interview with FIFA.com, the 26-year-old did nothing to dispel the transfer gossip surrounding him by stating his admiration for the Premier League and revealing he is excited by the prospect of testing himself against the very best in England’s top flight.
“Taking a long-term view, the English Premier League [rather than Spain’s La Liga] is the more appealing option,” he said.
“The Bundesliga has steadily improved in recent years, but England and Spain are still ahead, because that's where you find any number of top clubs.
“I'm not ruling anything out, but it is extremely attractive.”
Mertesacker also revealed his team-mates in the Germany national team have advised him that plying his trade away from his homeland would help him develop both on and off the pitch.
"Moving abroad brings you on both as a player and a person,” he added.
“What you generally pick up is that a spell abroad brings you on in ways you can't imagine. You see it confirmed time and time again. The experience you pick up is unbelievably important.
“You could develop so much as a footballer, and hopefully it would never rule out a return to Germany at some point.”
By Liam Twomeycomments