By Rob Harris, Associated Press
Published: 17:50 BST, 11 September 2019 | Updated: 17:50 BST, 11 September 2019
Talks have taken place at Arsenal about the threat posed by gangs targeting footballers after Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac had to fight off knife-wielding men, according to academy head Per Mertesacker.
In an apparent attempted carjacking caught on camera in July, Kolasinac jumped out of a vehicle to confront masked aggressors, who had pulled alongside the vehicle on mopeds. A separate incident led to two men being charged with a public order offense outside Ozil's house in north London.
'There was a big discussion around gangs in London and the security matters,' Mertesacker told The Associated Press. 'The major part of what car you drive, what you wear in terms of your jewelry. So you need to be risk-aware in those days that anything can happen at any time. And these are examples you are trying to avoid.'
Arsenal chief Per Mertesacker has warned players of the threat posed by gangs in London
Concerns about their safety led to Ozil and Kolasinac missing games.
'Once these things happen,' Mertesacker said, 'it is an eye opener to where the world is in terms of poverty around London and how can we make sure that it is not going to happen again.'
Especially as Mertesacker, the Arsenal captain before assuming the academy role two years ago, does not want players to become even more