Per Mertesacker joined Arsenal on a frantic 'Deadline Day' in 2011 and has been part of the club ever since. Arsenal's 'BFG' took the captaincy in 2016 after Mikel Arteta's retirement, lifting an FA Cup and a Community Shield as captain.
His retirement in 2018 after a series of injuries left a leadership void in the squad, but they retained the German who took on a role as Arsenal 'Academy Manager'.
Mertesacker spoke to the 'In Lockdown' podcast and spoke with a great deal of interest reliving his Arsenal career.
There were no hiding places really and that's what it's about with winning teams.
"If you're authentic, honest and can have tough conversations, that's when you talk about winning teams, winning teams always talk, you know? Whether it's positive, negative, comfortable or uncomfortable."
Mertesacker spoke about his relationship with Aaron Ramsey, and the spirit of the team.
"There needs to be that mentality in every single training session. I remember Aaron Ramsey was always a sounding board for me because we kept having a go at each other. Whenever we would do something wrong or not do the right thing at a certain time in training, we would feel the accountability."
There was often talk from Arsenal fans that there was a lack of leaders or mentality in the squad, but Mertesacker's involvement in the squad goes against those suggestions.
"There were no hiding places really and that's what it's about with winning teams. You have the odd argument and as long as you're authentic and you can back it up with your own behaviour, then there's no problem."
"I never had a problem when someone called me out, sometimes it's difficult to do that but once you step out of your bubble and get some perspective...the real leaders are the ones who always try to be authentic and honest, no matter what that means at the time."
"I consider myself to be a panic buy,"
The 2011 summer transfer window will go down as one of the most frantic and rewarding in Arsenal history.
Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Campbell all had arrived at Emirates Stadium prior to deadline day, but Arsene Wenger wasn't finished there.
Mikel Arteta, Andre Santos, Yossi Benayoun, Ju-young Park and Per Mertesacker all signed for the club on the final day of the transfer window. Some signings worked out better than others, but Mertesacker and Arteta were long term stalwarts of the club, and now have coaching roles within the set up.
"To join an English team, my favourite English team, and to join the Premier League was something I couldn't turn down."
The late move was a close call for Mertesacker who explained "I was with the German national team during those last three days and I had to ask Joachim Low if I could go to London and have a quick medical"
Signing five players on one day was always going to be tricky, and Mertesacker met his fellow deadline day signings in the process.
"In my medical, I met Santos, I became familiar with Benayoun, Arteta and Park very quickly."
The defender doesn't regret anything about his move, and spoke about his surprise of how it all happened. "It had to be messy, it had to be rushed. I didn't care. I was just happy that Arsene Wenger called me and spoke to me in German. I couldn't really believe it."
"I would always do it again, in the same format, in the same rush, in the same manner."
"Best decision ever!"
Per Mertesacker decided to retire from football in the summer of 2018, he was an ageing player, with a history of significant injuries.
This left him with a big decision to make, with one more year left on his contract, should he try and carry on or walk away?
"Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis sat me down," Mertesacker said. "They said, 'Listen, you've got one more year left on your contract, can you imagine staying with the club?'
Mertesacker expressed his interest and desire to carry on with the club, "As a family, we are settled and it's the club I love so I would love to make a contribution."
He believes that Mikel Arteta's move to join Pep Guardiola as an assistant manager at Manchester City was a key reason that they wanted to keep him at the club, as the club would have lost two significant leaders and experienced players from the first team.
"Then two weeks later they came up with the idea of making me the academy manager and it just took me one conversation with my wife to determine that that's what I wanted to do.
Coming into any role without any experience was always going to be tough, and Mertesacker admits that he had didn't know everything about the role, or what to expect. "Absolutely not".
"Do I like my job? Do I like to be part of the Arsenal academy and lead it? Best decision ever!"
To listen to the podcast in full, head over to the Arsenal website.