Most onlookers were stunned when Real Madrid agreed to sell Mesut Ozil this summer, but Carlo Ancelotti insists the player wanted to leave the Bernabeu.
The German international is regarded as one of the best playmakers in world football, so it came as a surprise when, on deadline day, news broke that he had been granted permission to discuss a move with Arsenal. Shortly afterwards it was confirmed that the Londoners had been successful with a £42.5million club record offer, and before the window shut at 11pm, the former Werder Bremen man was officially a Gunners player.
This led to much confusion in the Spanish capital, even though they had recently splashed out a world record £85million to take Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur. On top of this, they had also spent heavily on Asier Illarramendi of Real Sociedad, and had pulled off a major coup by beating Manchester City to brilliant Malaga schemer Isco.
But letting Ozil leave was something the Bernabeu faithful had not expected. One of the most creative players in Spanish football, even the Real players were stunned to see him go, such is the regard they hold him in. To make matters worse, the 24-year-old claimed he no longer felt wanted by the club and was given little option but to leave.
However, Ancelotti has refuted these claims, and insists Ozil was keen to make the move to the Emirates Stadium and play in the Premier League rather than remain with Los Blancos and fight for his place in the starting eleven. Further to this, the former Chelsea coach claims the player didn’t even seek him out for discussions on his future.
“At great clubs there are two ways to react to competition: either you stay to fight for your position or you leave,” he told L’Equipe. “Ozil preferred to leave. He said he left the club because he didn’t feel trust. But he never came to talk to me. We played three matches, he started two and he didn’t play the last one because of transfer rumours.”
Ozil made an immediate impact on his Arsenal debut at the weekend, expertly providing an assist to Olivier Giroud after just 11 minutes of a 3-1 win at Sunderland. Meanwhile, on the same day, Bale made his debut for Real, and although he marked the occasion with a goal, he couldn’t prevent them dropping two points in a 2-2 draw at Villarreal.