DUSSELDORF, Germany, August 30 – German international Per Mertesacker was given a day off German team training on Tuesday by coach Joachim Loew so he could travel to England and sign for Arsenal for a fee believed to be up to 11million euros.
While Loew did not mention Arsenal by name the 26-tear-old Werder Bremen stalwart has been strongly linked with the struggling Premier League giants and German agency SID said that he had gone to Arsenal to undergo a medical and sign a four year contract.
“On Monday evening, Per called me in my room to tell me he had an offer,” said Loew, who was speaking to reporters atfer a training session with the squad for the Euro 2012 qualifier with Austria on Friday.
“I gave him the day off and am awaiting his return this evening, the remainder is the business of the club.”
Mertesacker, capped over 70 times and a member of the German sides that reached the 2006 and 2010 World Cup semi-finals as well as the Euro 2008 final, is under contract with Bremen till June next year.
Mertesacker, who Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopes will resolve a longstanding problem at centreback brutally exposed last Sunday when Manchester United humiliated them 8-2, will rejoin a squad that is preparing for a Euro qualifier against Austria on Friday and a friendly with Euro co-hosts Poland in Gdansk next week.
At the same time, Arsenal said Tuesday they have a agreed a deal to sign striker Park Chu-Young from French club AS Monaco.
The 26-year-old South Korea captain scored 25 times in 91 appearances for the French club during three seasons in Ligue 1 and replaced Manchester United’s Park Ji-Sung as captain of the national side earlier this year.
His arrival at the Emirates is a timely boost for Arsenal following their 8-2 thrashing by champions Manchester United last week — the first time in over a century the London club have conceded eight goals in a game.
“We are delighted to have signed Chu,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told the club’s website.
“He will add true quality to our attacking forces and will be a valuable addition to the squad,” insisted the Frenchman, who made his name as a manager in charge of Monaco in the late 1980s.
Park, who made his debut for the South Korea senior side aged just 19, and played in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, said: “I am very honoured and I feel very happy to be at Arsenal.
“It is a dream to be here and I am really proud to be an Arsenal player. Now I just want to show how good I am and prove myself,” added Park, who had been linked with a move to French side Lille.
“In my opinion this is a great club, now I have to show what I can do on the pitch. I will do my best, I will never give up, I will show heart, I will give everything and I hope (the fans) will support me.”
The deal, subject to a formal registration process, is thought to be for an initial two years duration amid reports Park will have to return home for a period of military service in 2013.