The 6ft 6ins 26-year-old jumped at the chance to join the English club he followed as a youngster, and believes there is no better role model than the former Gunners skipper - who led the club to four league titles and won the double twice under Arsene Wenger.
"We didn't get many pictures of him on the television, but Adams was a legend here. He is a special one for me," Mertesacker told arsenal.com.
"When I was looking at English football I always looked to Arsenal and he was one of the great defenders when I was 10 or 12 years old.
"I like the players [like Adams] very much - I have enjoyed seeing them over the years.
"I hope I can improve my performances here and get better and better - I want to be useful for the team."