With Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen unavailable after needing minor surgery on a niggling ankle problem suffered in the Champions League play-off win over Udinese, Mertesacker in line to take his slot in the Arsenal rearguard following an £8million move from Werder Bremen.
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 www.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."
The Gunners will be looking to kick-start their Barclays Premier League campaign with a first domestic victory of what has been a nightmare opening few weeks of the season, most notably after a humiliating 8-2 thrashing at Manchester United before the international break.
However, Wenger has moved to strengthen the squad with the deadline transfers of South Korea forward Park Chu-Young, defenders Mertesacker and Andre Santos as well as late swoops for midfielder pair Yossi Benayoun and Mikel Arteta.
Emmanuel Frimpong will return from his suspension, but Alex Song and Gervinho must serve the final match of their three-game bans picked up on the opening day at Newcastle.
With fitness doubts over both Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky from international action, and with Jack Wilshere set for an extended spell out because of an ankle problem, the new arrivals will give Wenger some much-needed options.
Park netted a hat-trick in a 6-0 World Cup qualifying win over Lebanon, but the former Monaco frontman accepts it will take some time to adapt to life in the English top-flight.
He told Ilgan Sports: "I will try to adjust at Arsenal and work hard to play in many games as I can."
Following his deadline switch from Everton, Arteta cannot wait to get into action with his new team-mates.
The arrival of the experienced Spaniard will go some way to offsetting the departures of captain Cesc Fabregas and playmaker Samir Nasri.
"It has been a bit strange having been at the same club for six or seven years, and it is a big change. Even when you just put a different kit on, but I am so excited," Arteta told Arsenal Player.
"I hope I can do my job well and if I have the chance to play, I will give everything."
Arteta added: "There is still a lot of work to do, but we want to start winning on Saturday and get that right.
"From then hopefully everything is going to be more positive."