Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Arsène Wenger's faith convinced me to sign for Arsenal, says Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil is Arsenal's new club-record signing
Mesut Ozil is Arsenal's new club-record signing

It is easy to forget, amid all the cash and the hype, the simple and familiar human emotions that also fuel the transfer window: Mesut Ozil did not feel wanted at Real Madrid, so he went to Arsenal, where he certainly is.

"I am a player who needs the confidence of the coach, and I saw that I would have that at Arsenal and that is why I am going there," Ozil told the German Football Federation website, explaining why he had first said that he would stay in Madrid, before joining Arsenal for £42.5m.

"I was certain that I would stay at Real Madrid, then I realised that I didn't have the confidence of the coach and the officials after all."

Ozil just wanted support, to play football and feel valued. At Real he was, through little fault of his own, going to be squeezed out by this summer's arrivals of Asier Illarramendi, Isco and Gareth Bale. He was, even at the age of 24, yesterday's man, supplanted by Madrid's next new arrivals.

At Arsenal, though, Ozil is the future, and he knows it. "I am really looking forward to joining because I have the faith of the coach," he said. "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."

It is the World Cup next summer and Ozil, with a good season here, could go as one of the best players in one of the best sides.

"Arsène Wenger will give me the trust to help me develop further," he said. "I want to be completely fit for the World Cup. I know what I can do and what potential I have. I could have established myself at any club. I know that because I'm convinced of my own ability. At Arsenal, I can feel that there is trust."

That trust does not just comes from the manager, either. The fans, of course, hope the arrival of Ozil will redress the steady flow of class out of the Emirates – after Ashley Cole, Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie this could just be the point of reversal.

The current squad have already made very clear – via social media – how happy they are to be joined by Ozil. Theo Walcott, speaking at England's press conference today, enthused about how the German's creativity would improve his own performances. "The likes of Ozil coming into the team will only boost Arsenal, with confidence," Walcott said. "We are all confident anyway. He will hopefully bring the best out of the players and I'm personally really looking forward to it. With the amount of assists he has for club and country it will help my game."

He is well known to this generation of England players. Walcott and James Milner were both in the England side thrashed 4-0 in the final of the 2009 European Under-21 Championship in Malmo by an Ozil-inspired Germany.

"I watched him leading up to the final and he was absolutely fantastic so to actually see him in flesh in the final, he was great," recalled Walcott. "He has shown it for his club and country for many years now and I think it is an absolutely fantastic signing."

The following summer Ozil, still only 21, played for the senior team and took England apart again, in the famous 4-1 rout in Bloemfontein in the last 16 of the World Cup.

That was before he had even moved to Madrid, where he won the cup and league but was then sidelined. Wanted again, there is no limit on how good he can be.

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