Arsene Wenger has been left fuming after Jose Mourinho personally blocked Demba Ba’s deadline day loan move to Arsenal due to fears the addition of Mesut Ozil would turn them into genuine title contenders.
Arsenal made an approach for Ba on the final day of the summer transfer window and appeared favourites to take the Senegalese striker on a season-long deal, but their signing of the 24-year-old German for £42.5m forced Mourinho into a rethink on the deal.
Hours of negotiations between the two clubs eventually led to nothing, with both Tottenham and West Ham also enquiring over Ba’s availability, and instead 20-year-old Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku joined Everton on a season-long loan meaning Ba stayed with the Europa League champions.
Mourinho has admitted that the club blocked the deal at the last minute, with the eleventh hour bid meaning Wenger had no time left to go after another target, having already missed out on Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez earlier in the summer.
“Ozil is unique,” said Mourinho, who coached the German during his three years at Real Madrid. “There is no copy of him – not even a bad one. He is the best number 10 in the world. He makes things very easy for me and for his team-mates with his football vision and the decisions he makes.
“Everyone loves him and sees a bit of Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane in him.
“We didn’t accept Arsenal’s offer for Demba Ba because the signing of Ozil makes them title contenders.”
Arsenal were convinced the deal would go through, and they are believed to have prepared the striker’s medical for when he arrived at their training ground, but in the end the deal never prospered.
Wenger was desperate to sign a new striker, with Olivier Giroud his only fit and recognised striker available – although both Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott can fill in for the Frenchman. The failure to sign Ba led to the north London club calling off the sale of Nicklas Bendtner’s transfer to Crystal Palace.
Bendtner may be required to pull on the red and white of Arsenal once again due to the injury Podolski suffered last week appearing to be worse than first thought.
After being examined by the German national physio Dr Hans-Muller Wohlfahrt, it appears he could be out until the New Year.
Podolski told German newspaper Bild “Unfortunately I’ll be out a long while, around three months,” after Dr Wohlfahrt confirmed he had torn his hamstring rather than strained it.
Bendtner issued a statement yesterday though admitting he was fully committed to the Gunners and wanted to assist them in having a successful season, although he did admit he wants to play football regularly for the club.
“The truth is I just want to play football which is when I’m happiest and Arsenal is a fantastic environment for any professional to apply their trade,” said the Danish striker.
“I want to assure all Arsenal fans that I will give everything I have to contribute to what I believe will be a successful season for the club.”