December 12 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that he tried to sign Mesut Ozil while he was still at Werder Bremen three years ago but feels that his initial interest helped to tempt the German to north London this month.
Instead it was Real Madrid who managed to prise the playmaker away from his homeland in 2010, paying £15million for his services after an impressive World Cup campaign for his country.
But three successful season in La Liga - in which he developed in to Europe’s top goal provider - meant the Gunners boss had to splash a club record £42.5million to finally land a player who still had three years left on his contract.
Wenger, who today unveiled his biggest ever signing, said: “When Mesut went to Real, we were already in touch. Back then I wanted to get him to Arsenal but it didn’t work.
“That was the start of our relationship. The second time it worked so I think the first contact really helped.”
It took until the final few hours of the transfer window to complete the deal but Wenger revealed his hopes were boosted 24 hours earlier just before his side’s 1-0 win over arch-rivals Tottenham.
“When I told you [the media] two or three days before [the transfer deadline], I looked a bit lonely when I said I was optimistic, but in the end it happened,” said Wenger.
“I thought we had a chance to do it, a small one, but we worked very hard on it until the end.
“It was very complicated in the end because the timing was short, but on Sunday when I came to the Tottenham game, just at two o’clock, I thought we will manage to do it.
“Before the game I knew we were 90 per cent there.”
Wenger added: “What is very important for us is to find world-class players. There are not plenty around.
“We had to go through some years when I signed a long-term contract where we had some restricted financial potential, and the target was to stay in the Champions League in this period.
“We managed to do it, and we are now in a strong position financially.”
Ozil is in line to make his Arsenal debut at Sunderland on Saturday and his new boss is confident the 24-year-old slot in seamlessly.
“The plans are quite simple - that he plays his best,” Wenger said.
“He is the type of player that will integrate our style of play because he has a game that is based on movement, technical ability, creativity and he has all the attributes to be one of the leaders of our team.”