SINGAPORE: Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker said Tuesday the addition of Petr Cech has strengthened the confidence of the Gunners' defence as they look to bring the Premier League title back to north London for the first time since 2004.
Cech moved across the English capital last month from Chelsea where he won four Premier League titles and the Champions League in 11 successful seasons and according to Mertesacker, the 33-year-old Czech Republic goalkeeper has already made his mark at his new club.
"From day one, we felt his presence. He is the type who communicates well on and off the pitch and he speaks several different languages," said the German centre-back.
"I think that he can add that extra that maybe we are missing at the moment and we are very happy with him because he has a good feeling as well about joining us and contributing to our team. We already had a good structure but with him, we feel we are much stronger," he said.
Arsenal are gearing up for the new season by competing this week at the Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore and face a Singapore Select XI team on Wednesday in their opening match.
Cech is likely to make his debut for Arsenal in the city-state.
While Arsene Wenger felt that he already had two good goalkeepers in his squad in David Ospina and Wojciech Szczesny, the Arsenal manager could not turn down the opportunity to sign a player of Cech's quality.
He said the deal itself was not difficult, but making the decision was tough because the two goalkeepers did well last season.
"But on the other hand, we could add his (Cech's) experience, strength and belief to our squad and I also believe that we can continue to develop our goalkeepers who are still young, and therefore I made the decision."
He said the tournament in Singapore is important for testing the team pre-season.
"It is also a good opportunity for me to give a chance to some players who are on the fringe of the team and to see how close they are to contributing and this will help to influence my decision before the transfer market is over," he said.
Singapore Select XI coach V. Sundramoorthy is relishing the opportunity to test his players against one of Europe's top teams.
"Everybody in our team is prepared and what motivation do you need when you are playing against a top team like Arsenal?" he said.
"It means a lot for our players and they will feel very motivated to play against the stars that they see on the TV screen week in and week out. Hopefully, it will help them to move to the next level," he said.
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