Ozil: Wenger the reason I ditched Real for Gunners

Frank Dalleres
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ARSENAL’S new £42.5m record signing Mesut Ozil has revealed how manager Arsene Wenger personally persuaded him to leave Real Madrid for north London in the biggest deal of transfer deadline day.

The Germany playmaker says Wenger lured him to Emirates Stadium late in the window by promising him a pivotal role in the team and emphasising belief in his ability – just as Real were freezing him out.

Ozil’s praise cements the deal as a personal triumph for Wenger, who was criticised for failing to spend an estimated £100m transfer budget, particularly following the opening-day home defeat to Aston Villa.

“I’m a player who needs this faith and that is what I’ve felt from Arsenal, which is why I’ve joined. I’m really looking forward to it because I have the faith of the coach,” said Ozil, who signed a five-year deal on Monday.

“I had spoken to him at length on the telephone, he explained his plans and that he has faith in me – that is what I need as a player.

“I’m looking forward to the new challenge. I’ve already heard that they have super fans, the city is great and the team is fantastic.

“Wenger gives me the faith and I can develop further. I know what I can do and I know that I could make the grade with any club in the world because I am so convinced in myself, but if I don’t feel people have faith in me then that is why I had to leave and at Arsenal, I feel I have this fully.”

Ozil’s comments came as former Real team-mates expressed their disbelief that the Spanish club – under pressure to raise cash after spending a world record £86m on Tottenham’s Gareth Bale – would part with one of their most admired players.

Defender Sergio Ramos called Ozil “a great footballer” and “unique”, adding: “If I were to decide what was happening at Madrid he would be one of the last who would be going.”

Alvaro Arbeloa, another World Cup winner and formerly of Liverpool, said: “It’s a shame and a big loss in our dressing room. Ozil is different; there is no one else like him in the world. He makes such a difference.”

New Arsenal team-mate Theo Walcott called Ozil’s arrival “very exciting”. “I played against him for [England] Under-21s when we lost to them [Germany] 4-0,” he added.

“He showed his qualities then and he has shown them throughout many years now for club and country. He’s a great addition. I’m looking forward to playing with him.”