Arsenal new signing Petr Cech makes team 'much stronger', says Mertesacker

Czech soccer player Petr Cech shows his Arsenal jersey during his presentation in Prague on July 1, 2015.
Czech soccer player Petr Cech shows his Arsenal jersey during his presentation in Prague on July 1, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS
English Premier League club defender Per Mertesacker (left) and manager Arsene Wenger (right) speak to journalists at a press conference ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy soccer tournament in Singapore, on July 14, 2015.
English Premier League club defender Per Mertesacker (left) and manager Arsene Wenger (right) speak to journalists at a press conference ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy soccer tournament in Singapore, on July 14, 2015.PHOTO: EPA
Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud (left) and goalkeeper Petr Cech (right) arrive at the Changi Airport ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy tournament in Singapore, on July 13, 2015.
Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud (left) and goalkeeper Petr Cech (right) arrive at the Changi Airport ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy tournament in Singapore, on July 13, 2015.PHOTO: EPA
Fans of Arsenal Football Club hold up scarves and flags as they wait for the team outside a terminal at the Changi Airport ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy tournament in Singapore, on July 13, 2015.
Fans of Arsenal Football Club hold up scarves and flags as they wait for the team outside a terminal at the Changi Airport ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy tournament in Singapore, on July 13, 2015.PHOTO: EPA
Arsenal players arrive at the Shangri La Hotel in Singapore on July 13, 2015.
Arsenal players arrive at the Shangri La Hotel in Singapore on July 13, 2015.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Arsenal players arrive at the Shangri La Hotel in Singapore on July 13, 2015.
Arsenal players arrive at the Shangri La Hotel in Singapore on July 13, 2015.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger arriving in Singapore on July 13, 2015.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger arriving in Singapore on July 13, 2015. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - Arsenal new signing Petr Cech has excited many fans, and the Czech Republic goalkeeper can count vice-captain Per Mertesacker as one of his admirers.

"From day one you felt his presence, he's the type of player to communicate well on and off the pitch," the German said at a Barclays Asia Trophy press conference on Tuesday. "I think he can add that extra miss that we have at the moment and we are very happy with him and I think he has a good feeling as well about joining us. With him, we feel much stronger."

Cech enjoyed a tremendous stint with rivals Chelsea where he held numerous goalkeeping records, which includes three golden gloves and a club record of 220 clean sheets in all competitions.

"The relationship between the back four and goalkeeper is important," said Mertesacker. "Communication is vital in so many situations so it gives you confidence when you have someone with his presence. We feel quite confident in the back and we feel stronger with Petr Cech."

Cech's signing for £10 million (S$21.1 million) was something Gunners fans worldwide praised, with observers noting that Cech is the first world class shot-stopper at the club since German Jens Lehmann left the Gunners in 2008.

Manager Arsene Wenger also praised Cech, but said he was never too worried about the strength of their defence.

"If you go back to the numbers, we have no goalkeeping problem," the manager told members of the media at The Grand Hyatt hotel. "In the last 19 games we conceded 13 goals… we improved our record during the season and we want to maintain and stabilise that and if possible, improve on that."

The Gunners are in Singapore for the pre-season Barclays Asia Trophy tournament, which includes two other Premier League teams, Stoke City and Everton and a Singapore Select XI.

Arsenal play a Singapore XI on Wednesday at 6 pm at the National Stadium.

marcusl@sph.com.sg