Ahead of his much anticipated debut at Sunderland on Saturday, Arsenal’s record signing Mesut Ozil says he has joined one of the biggest clubs in the world, and that the Gunners can challenge for the title this season as they approach ten years since lifting the Premier League trophy.
"Of course [we can challenge for the title]," the German, who joined from Real Madrid on deadline day for £42.5m said today. "This is one of the biggest clubs in the world."
What excites Ozil the most about playing for Arsenal is working with manager Arsene Wenger. The 24-year-old revealed a conversation with Wenger convinced him to join the Gunners after he had lost the faith of his Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.
"I did not get the respect and the trust at Madrid. It was difficult," he said. "When I talked to Arsene on the phone he was full of respect and as a player I need the respect."
“I feel very good here. I'm sure the boss will improve me and I'm proud to be part of the team,” Ozil added. “Many young players came here and got better, and became some of the best players in the world.”
The midfielder talked with his international team-mates Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker before joining the north London club, and that despite his slight build, is looking forward to the physical nature of the English top flight.
"I talked to Mertesacker and Podolski about the club, and I've only heard positive things," he said. "I’ve watched a lot of Premier League games, of course it's very physical but this is a man's sport."
Wenger agreed that signing Ozil for nearly three times more than the club’s previous record fee was a statement of intent.
"Of course [the signing is a statement]. We are now in a stronger position.
"Ozil is at a good age, he is already a great player. There is room for him to become dominant and step up."
Despite Ozil, and goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano joining on loan from Palermo, Wenger admitted that he tried to sign more players on deadline day.
"We were open to bring one more player in, or two."
Wenger’s only new injury concern for the Sunderland match is Tomas Rosicky, who will be sidelined with a thigh injury he picked up on international duty with Czech Republic. The manager said Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere are fully fit for the fixture at the Stadium of Light.